Diagnosing a mental health disorder in children can be challenging because many factors influence a child’s moods and behaviors, including age, stage of development, physical illnesses, and environmental factors. If your child is demonstrating emotional or behavioral difficulties that interfere with their ability to function, seek help from someone trained in providing a mental health assessment for children. These evaluations are a critical first step in getting your child and family the support they need. With an accurate diagnosis, your child’s mental health treatment provider will be able to develop a treatment plan based on your child’s unique needs.
At Beyond Healthcare in Toledo, OH, we provide comprehensive outpatient mental health services to children, teens, and families in need. We understand how frightening it is for children to feel out of control of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We also recognize the toll it takes on parents and other family members. Contact our team today at 833.698.0453 if you think your child might need a mental health assessment.
Identifying the Need for a Mental Health Assessment
In some cases, the need for mental health services is apparent. Often, it can be challenging to recognize the need partly because change is a part of normal childhood development and symptoms of disorders vary depending on a child’s age. Your child might not be able to explain their feelings or why they are behaving a particular way. Additionally, the stigma associated with mental illness, concerns about the use of medication, or financial and logistical challenges to treatment might initially prevent you from seeking help.
If you are questioning the need for a mental health assessment for your child, consider the following signs:
- Persistent sadness lasting two weeks or more
- Self-harm or talking about hurting themselves
- Out-of-control behavior, outbursts, or extreme irritability
- Difficulty sleeping
- Changes in appetite and significant weight gain or loss
- Frequent somatic complaints like headaches and stomachs
- Problems at school and poor academic performance
If you have concerns about your child’s mental health, consult your pediatrician. Talk with teachers, caregivers, close friends, and family members to see if they recognize changes in your child’s behavior and share this information with the doctor.
What Happens in a Mental Health Assessment?
Both children and parents may be nervous about going through a mental health assessment, especially if you do not know what to expect. Mental health disorders in children are diagnosed based on signs and symptoms and how they impact daily functioning. A comprehensive mental health assessment will include:
- Interviews with the child and parents
- Complete medical history and physical exam
- History of physical or emotional trauma
- Family history of physical and psychological health
- Timeline of the child’s developmental progress
- Standardized assessments and questionnaires for the child and parents
- Current and past academic performance
Before a mental health interview, you can ensure your child is prepared by letting them know what to expect and ensuring that they get a good night’s sleep and have a healthy meal. You can prepare by making a list of your concerns and observations, a list of current and past medications, including over-the-counter ones, and questions you have. With an official mental health diagnosis, your child will have access to effective treatment designed to help them become the best versions of themselves.
Contact Beyond Healthcare to Schedule Your Child’s Mental Health Interview
A mental health assessment from a qualified mental healthcare provider is essential for getting your child’s official mental health diagnosis. The goal of a mental health assessment is to identify or rule out a mental health disorder as the cause of your child’s struggles with friends, at school, or in your home. After receiving a mental health diagnosis, you may be able to better understand your child, advocate for their needs, and even qualify for programs that could assist you and your family. Beyond Healthcare is a community-based organization that offers an inclusive and welcoming environment designed to help children and their families overcome the challenges associated with mental health disorders. Contact us at 833.698.0453 or use our online form to learn more about mental health assessment and diagnosis and our many mental health services.