So, you’ve noticed changes in your child’s moods, emotions or behaviour that are worrying you. What next? Well, the best thing you can do for your child’s wellbeing is to speak to a health professional about what’s going on.
Taking the first step
Your local GP is often a good starting point when your child needs help. Depending on the situation, the GP might provide ongoing care or suggest that another mental health professional or support service get involved.
Mental health professionals who specialise in working with children can be accessed through your GP, community health centre, public mental health services, and private health clinics. Your child’s school may have a counsellor or psychologist who can help, or the school’s staff might be able to suggest other local services or health professionals.
What happens next?
Your GP or other health professional will need to get an accurate picture of what’s going on so they can provide tailored treatment for your child’s needs. This is done through a mental health assessment.
As part of this assessment, the health professional will look at your child’s difﬁculties, background and current needs. They’re likely to ask questions about your child’s early history, progress and difﬁculties at school, and your family situation.
The discussion might cover:
- the situations your child finds difficult
- how they get on with other children and family members
- whether they have any learning difﬁculties
- how your child and family have tried to manage difficult or stressful situations up until now
- their strengths and interests.
You may also be asked to keep a record of your child’s behaviour – usually for a week or two, or until your next appointment.
Based on all of this information, the health professional will decide what kind of support will be most appropriate for your child and family.