Over the past year, the pandemic has led to higher rates of clinical depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts as children are socially isolated and worried about an uncertain future. Some have already dealt with mental health challenges and others have developed them as a result of the pandemic. The Texas Tribune has put together a resource guide based on the advice of experts, mental health advocates, and existing state-provided resources about how families can take care of their child’s mental health.
What the Texas Tribune Says About Mental Health Struggles
If your child is in immediate danger, it is important to call 911. If your child is dealing with mental health issues related to COVID-19, you can call the state’s 24/7 toll-free support line as well as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Family members who feel their child is suffering from ongoing mental health issues can seek outpatient counseling or psychiatric care as well as a hospital stay or treatment center. A pediatrician or a primary care doctor can refer families to services. One in Five Minds, a Texas-based mental health education program, has published a guide for parents to recognize the signs in children’s mental illness, what to expect at the first visit to a psychiatrist, and how to afford mental health care.
Finding a Texas Mental Health Provider
There are nearly 40 regional mental and behavioral health authorities that bring affordable health care services to the community. The Texas Psychological Association can help you find a local therapist. Unfortunately, this pandemic has led to a waitlist of at least a few weeks for outpatient or psychiatric care since there has been high demand. Families should ask their mental health or behavioral health authorities if there are references for providers who are willing to do virtual telehealth to cut the wait time. There are also online support groups that are offered by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
How School Plays into Child’s Mental Health
In 2019, Texas lawmakers required schools to train teachers in addressing student trauma and finding ways to prevent suicide and substance abuse. Teachers and counselors can refer families through the Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine program which provides free virtual short-term psychiatric care for students referred to by their schools. The Texas Tribune’s guide has many resources to help your child in their mental health to ensure they are never alone.
The pandemic has made it harder for children to be mentally healthy. They are away from their friends, school, and any semblance of a normal life. The Texas Tribune has come up with a guide to help parents give their children the help they need during this uncertain time. One certain thing, though, is that Alta Loma is always here to help you. Located in Georgetown, Texas, we can provide you with the tools you need to get better such as individualized therapy, medication management, family treatment, and more. Please call us at (866) 457-3843 to learn more.