Just as we care for our children’s physical health, it’s time to take stock of their mental health. Like adults, children can struggle with mental health challenges. For children, the most common mental health problem is anxiety. Knowing if your child’s worries and fears require treatment can be a tough call.
What does anxiety look like in children?
Anxiety can look different in every child. At the Yale Child Study Center’s Anxiety and Mood Disorders Program, we see many children with different kinds of anxiety symptoms. Most parents find programs like ours when they notice that their child is more worried or fearful than other children their age.
As parents, we want to be sure that our child’s worries, fears, or anxiety do not disrupt their life. When a child’s worries make it hard for them to go to school, perform well academically, have fulfilling friendships, try out extracurricular activities, follow a family routine, or fall asleep at night, it may be time to have them checked out by a mental health professional.
Children who benefit from treatment for anxiety may have one or more of the following symptoms: powerful worries around being away from their parents (perhaps fears that mom or dad will forget to pick them up from school or feeling scared about being away from parents, even for a short time), trouble following an evening or bedtime routine due to anxiety, excessive nervousness in social situations, inability to fully engage with schoolwork due to anxiety, or feeling panicky and experiencing strong physical signs of anxiety.
What do I do if I think my child needs help?
Knowing what to do if you think your child may need help with their anxiety can be tough. With children who are old enough, having a direct conversation about what’s going on may prove fruitful. It may also be worth speaking with other adults in your child’s life. Their school teachers, coaches, and other adults may have insight into their behavior outside of the home.
If you determine that you want to seek help from a professional, here are some resources that may be available to you:
- Your child’s pediatrician may be able to get a sense of what’s going on and provide referrals to specialized programs for your child.
- Your child’s school psychologist or school social worker may be able to provide help for your child during the school day.
- A child psychologist may be able to provide a diagnosis and offer evidence-based therapeutic treatment for your child.
- A child psychiatrist may be able to provide a diagnosis and prescribe medication for your child.
- A family therapist may meet with your family to work through ways to tackle issues as a family.
- A specialized clinic, like the Anxiety and Mood Disorders Program at the Yale Child Study Center, may be able to provide a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation and specialized treatment.
The Yale Program
The Anxiety and Mood Disorders Program at the Yale Child Study Center is a specialized program for anxiety in children. We can offer diagnostic assessments and therapy through our clinical services. We also offer clinical care and diagnostic assessments for anxiety in children at no cost to families interested in participating in our research.
To receive services from our program, give us a call at 203-737-4644. If we are the best place to treat your child, we will schedule an initial appointment. At the appointment, we will perform a diagnostic assessment for your child. This helps us understand your child’s anxiety. From there, one of our clinicians will create a treatment plan and begin working with your family.
For more information and see if we may be a good fit for your child, please call 203-737-4644 or email [email protected].
Whatever route you choose for your child, we wish you the best of luck. It can be difficult to know when to seek help and where to go for help. Please consider us, the Anxiety and Mood Disorders Program at the Yale Child Study Center, as a resource. For more information or to ask any questions, please give us a call at (203) 737-4644.
About the Author
The Anxiety and Mood Disorders Program at the Yale Child Study Center is a specialized program for anxiety in children. We offer diagnostic assessments and therapy through our clinical services. Importantly, we also offer these services at no cost for families interested in participating in our research. For more information and see if we may be a good fit for your child, please call 203-737-4644 or email [email protected]