It is up to you to decide who you want to share information with when it comes to your child’s mental health and therapy. You might share with your child’s pediatrician, with their school, or with trusted family and friends.
In each case, you have control. Ask yourself how sharing can help your child. Your child’s perspective is important here too. What do they feel comfortable with?
If you have received a referral from your pediatrician, you may want to update them so they can continue to be a part of your child’s treatment team.
If you feel like they can offer insights before therapy starts, and once it begins, you can continue to keep in touch.
Your pediatrician may also be able to start a discussion about medication, if that is necessary.
Your child’s school
If their behavior or symptoms are interfering with success at school, or if the upcoming therapy schedule will interrupt the school day, consider updating the school. Sharing with the school can help you get started on accommodations or interventions that may be beneficial for your child.
You may choose to share broadly, with the school counselor and teaching team, for example. Or you may decide to share only with a trusted staff member.
For older children, ask what their preference is. Is there someone at school they would like to know? Keep in mind that if formal accommodations or interventions are needed once therapy starts, there may be staff members that need to be involved outside of who your child identifies. Make sure your child understands that so they are not surprised as the discussion progresses.
Friends and Family
As a caregiver, reaching out for social support can be beneficial for your own self-care. However, it is important to keep your child’s wishes in mind when sharing with family and friends too. They may want to be very open, or they may wish not share at all.
For the upcoming therapy appointments, think about who can help. Perhaps it’s a co-parent, grandparent, or neighbor who can help with transportation or child-care for siblings. You may also want to rely on your social network for support in finding time for self-care for yourself.
Social connections can also be highly beneficial for your child as they wait for therapy. Talk to your child about who they trust and encourage conversations with their network.
Consider your work - how much do you want to let co-workers and supervisors know, if at all? If you will have to miss work for therapy appointments, who can you talk to about this? Are there co-workers you can rely on for support as you try to balance work and your child’s mental health?
Also, some places of employment have benefits that support mental health of their employees and their families. You may want to talk with HR to learn more.