Unfortunately, there is a national shortage of behavioral health providers that at times leads to long wait times for service. Difficulties accessing behavioral health care can be both frustrating and stressful for families.
What can you do to help your child while you are waiting for services?
- Talk to your pediatrician. Pediatricians are increasingly knowledgeable about how to respond to children with mental and behavioral health needs. Additionally, knowing the full range of your child’s concerns helps them to support your child’s overall health and wellbeing in the most effective way.
- Follow up with the intake department. If you are waiting for a scheduled appointment and your child’s problems are getting worse, contact the intake department. Providers work hard to address urgent needs, so make sure they are aware of the seriousness of the problem.
- Get the school involved. Talk to trusted school personnel about your child’s concerns. In addition to being an additional set of eyes and ears for the child, schools may be able to offer or recommend additional supports. Some have established school mental health services or school counselors that families can access.
- Take advantage of community resources. Find out how to access local behavioral health services including crisis services if you are concerned about your child’s safety. Also, many communities offer caregiver support groups that provide excellent information and assistance to families.
- Educate yourself. Become familiar with behavioral health resources to help with coping and emotional wellbeing.
- Confide in a trusted friend or extended family member. Make sure you are taking good care of yourself and have your own supports. This will make it more possible for you to be at your best and most helpful to your child.