Mental health issues are not always obvious in children and teenagers. A child might be suffering from depression or anxiety, but her parents might see only angry outbursts. A teenager might be having thoughts of suicide, but his parents see only a child who is falling behind in school.
Children and teenagers do suffer from mental and behavioral health issues, however. They can develop many of the same problems as adults, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis and others.
Getting an accurate diagnosis of your child’s issues is the first step toward recovery. In the Sutter Health network, psychiatrists and other behavioral healthcare providers specialize in treating children and teenagers. They will work with you to evaluate your child’s mental and physical health and develop an age-appropriate treatment plan that will relieve symptoms and move your child toward better mental health.
Depending on your child’s diagnosis and the symptom severity, treatment might include counseling therapies, including family therapy and individual or group counseling, as well as medication. In addition, therapy can help a child learn to regulate behavior, express feelings appropriately, develop self-esteem and good social skills, and improve family bonds.
We also offer age-appropriate programs to treat addiction and eating disorders. As always when a child or teenager is the patient, family involvement and education is a vital part of the treatment plan.
Treatment services are offered in several settings: outpatient programs, partial hospitalization, and inpatient hospitalization in a secure facility. We offer emergency services when needed as well. If your child is hospitalized, an onsite teacher may help with schoolwork.
Our goal is to help your child or teenager return to an active and productive life, equipped with the skills to maintain good mental health for a lifetime. As a child improves, we offer less intensive treatment options, which will help with reintegration into school and family activities. For example, a child who has been hospitalized might step down to a partial hospitalization program where he goes home at night, and then to an outpatient, after-school program.
If needed, a case manager can help you with planning your child’s transition home and setting up an appropriate network of community support.