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Special Needs

Child and Teen Mental Health - What to Do

If you notice your child or teen has signs or symptoms of mental health challenges:

  1. Schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other qualified mental health professional as soon as you can. If these services are unavailable, make an appointment with a healthcare provider, pediatrician, or primary care provider.
  2. Let the health care provider know about any medications or other medical treatments your child is receiving.
  3. If no diagnosis is provided or you disagree after the first appointment, seek a second opinion.
  4. If your child says he is seeing or hearing things that do not exist, seek medical advice or treatment immediately. Seeing or hearing things is different from an “imaginary friend,” and a healthcare professional can help explain how.

Tips for raising a child who has a mental health condition:

  1. If your child is in crisis, seek help immediately. In case of an emergency, call 911 for immediate assistance. The FirstLink helpline (call 2-1-1or visit their website) can help you work through a crisis and connect you to local support.
  2. Learn about your child’s mental health condition. The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) is a national organization dedicated to building better lives for Americans affected by mental health challenges. They offer classes, support groups, and a help line. For more information on the ND local chapter, see NAMI.
  3. Work with your child to understand his feelings. Avoid getting angry about behaviors that are out of his control, but continue to set limits and provide positive discipline.

Tips to help your family:

  1. Take care of yourself to better support your child and family.
  2. Spend special time with your other children.
  3. Get your family involved in supporting your child and one another. Help them learn about your child’s mental health condition to understand behaviors and how to respond.

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