For Families

Main Content

Your Child's Mental Health and Wellness

How is Your Child's Mental Health?

You may notice that your child or adolescent:

  • Often seems unhappy, angry, or withdrawn, and nothing seems to help
  • Seems distracted and restless and can't sit still as long as other children of the same age
  • Is falling behind in school work or has problems in the classroom
  • Puts him or herself down and seems to feel worthless
  • Has few friends and doesn’t get along with family members
  • Seems to be upset and highly stressed about family problems
  • Shows signs of using drugs or alcohol
  • Is making comments about suicide

If your child has any of the above issues, your child's primary care provider can help!

It's best to mention these issues as soon as possible to your child's primary care provider (PCP). Your pediatrician, family physician, or nurse practitioner considers your child’s mental health as important as physical health. A healthy child means a healthy body and a healthy mind. You can't have one without the other!

You can see a mental health specialist without talking to your child's PCP. However, talking to his/her primary care doctor can be a very helpful place to start if you have mental health concerns about your child or adolescent. Doctors and nurses are trained and have experience with how children typically grow. They are familiar with the most common mental health problems that your child may face.

Your child’s PCP will not make you feel embarrassed if you want to discuss his/her mental health issues. These problems are very common and can happen in any family. S/he can help you find treatments that work.

What will your PCP do?

The first thing the PCP will do is to ask you some questions about your child's behavior. Depending on your child’s age, your child’s PCP may want to talk alone with him/her to find out more about what s/he is thinking and feeling.

Your child's doctor may also ask you to fill out a form that asks you to check off symptoms that your child may have, such as "having trouble sleeping." You may also be asked if the symptom is "severe" or "mild" and how often it happens.

Through this form and by talking with you and your child, the PCP will determine if these symptoms are related to a mental health problem. He or she will also consider other health problems that may be the cause of your child's symptoms.

After you talk about your concerns, your child's PCP should be able to answer the following questions:

  • What type of problem is it? (What does he or she think is the suspected diagnosis?)
  • How serious is the problem?
  • What are you, your PCP, and your child going to do about the problem?
  • Should your child or adolescent see a specialist?
    • If your child needs more services, the PCP will help coordinate these services with you. You and your child will always play an important role in the treatment plan.
  • The Family resources list is the same as the directory. Can you change “Family Resources” list to the “Mental Health Directory” button and change the subtext on that button to “Search for and connect with mental health specialist in Mississippi using our directory and referral tool”