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Does My Child Need a Psychiatrist?

  • Posted at Oct 18, 2013
  • Written by yellowbrick

Yellowbrick mental health

As children grow into young adulthood, difficulties and challenges arise, testing the capabilities of healthy social, behavioral, and emotional functioning.  Emerging adults, while still finding their purpose and place in the world, often approach new-found trials and tribulations with extreme emotions and impulsive behaviors.

Parents may brush it off, justifying that all young adults have mood swings, minimizing the signs of severe depression. Some families may not share enough time together, limiting the possibility for parents to pick up on erratic behavior. Others may decipher difficulties as problematic, wondering if their young adult faces an anxiety disorder or if treatment for depression would help their young adult.

Bogged down by the negative stereotypes associated with mental health care or held back by the frustration of dealing with the issue at hand, parents may have a hard time answering the question- does my child need a psychiatrist?

See past the stigma

Chances are, yes, a struggling emerging adult would benefit from talking with a mental health provider, especially if included while planning the services. Taking positive steps to improve social, behavioral, and emotional functioning, like seeking clinical help, may increase self-regulation characteristics like emotional awareness and behavioral reactivity, particularly for young adults with anxiety or depressive disorders.

While many young adults engage the expertise of a psychiatrist to develop a treatment plan for a diagnosable disorder, others simply start psychotherapy for guidance when they can’t carry out goals, when relationships end, or when they feel alone or overwhelmed.  Developing a confidential, unbiased relationship with a mental health provider creates a secure environment for emerging adults to explore issues related to identity formation, strengthen healthy coping skills, and process complex emotions.

How to begin

How can families welcome mental health care?

Schedule a family meeting to talk about welcoming clinical help.  Prepare for the discussion by getting in touch with your own feelings, and objectively construct “I” statements to communicate them.  Instead of saying something along the lines of, “You need mental health help; you can’t keep crying like this,” come equipped with “I” statements to let your emerging adult know how much you care.

For example,

  • “It makes me sad to see you cry and spend time in isolation, because I feel as though I have not met your needs as a parent. How can I support you in processing tough emotions?”
  • “I am worried about the daily stress in your life because I love you and care about your well-being. I want to help you find some resources.”

Look into services covered by health insurance and weigh the differences between psychiatrists, psychologists, and clinical social workers. (WebMD) Determine the level of care beneficial for the emerging adult and his or her needs. Interview therapists to find the right fit and seek complementary outlets like yoga classes or art therapy.

When young adults experience severe symptoms of anxiety, depressive, bipolar or other disorders disrupting everyday functions, families often turn to intensive supportive environments, similar to The Residence at Yellowbrick. An outlet for emerging adults to learn self-regulation skills, The Residence encourages personal growth through integration of community resources, development of healthy peer relationships, and a wide range of therapeutic services.

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