If your child has a mental health condition that causes difficulties
at school with peers, teachers, or academics, you are not alone — about
20 percent of children and adolescents at any given time are significantly
affected by symptoms of a mental health condition. As the parent or
guardian of such a child, you may be feeling frustrated, worried,
confused, and, more than anything else, unsure about what can be
done to help.
The schoolpsychiatry.org web site was created for parents, educators, clinicians
and clinicians-in-training to identify and support the needs of children and
adolescents with mental health conditions. When these needs are understood
and properly supported, life at school, at home, and with peers can improve
This site contains information about recognizing and treating
a range of mental health conditions in young people and making
appropriate accommodations at school and at home.
How to Use This Site
The site is intended for parents who are just starting to explore
the possible causes of their child’s difficulties, as well
as for parents whose child has already received a diagnosis from
a trained clinician.
Information is provided in five main sections:
Mental Health Information
been told, or you suspect, that your child has a mental health
condition, click on Child/Adolescent
Mental Health Information to read about common mental
health conditions that affect children and adolescents. You
can learn about symptoms in young people, and how the symptoms
can be treated and managed at home and at school.
for Preliminary Mental Health Screening
If you suspect your child has a mental health condition, and you’re
not sure which symptoms are most troublesome, or what your child’s
diagnosis might be, click on Checklists for Preliminary
Mental Health Screening to find checklists helpful for preliminary mental health screening.
These checklists can help you clarify which categories of symptoms should
be discussed with teachers and clinicians.
These checklists are not meant for you to diagnose your child
based on a particular “score.” They are only an
initial indicator of how to categorize the types of symptoms
you’ve observed. Diagnosis should be made only by a trained
clinician after a thorough evaluation.
Tools & Rating Scales
If you have been told, or you suspect, that your child may have a particular
mental health condition, use this section to
find screening tools and rating scales. These tools can help you and
your child's school and treatment professionals to better understand
and define your child's difficulties, and to measure progress after interventions
are put in place.
Do not assume that a particular “score” on
any of these screening tools or rating scales means a child
has a particular disorder—these screening tools and
rating scales are just one component of an evaluation. Diagnosis
should be made only by a trained clinician after a thorough
Health in the Classroom
If your child has been diagnosed with a mental health condition, click
on Mental Health in the Classroom for information about helping your
child to succeed in school.
Select Educational Evaluation for general information on the process
of working with your child’s school to assess individual needs
and tailor a plan to accommodate the child.
Select School-Based Interventions for information about specific ways
the school can help your child.
Select Creating a Safe School Climate for strategies and recommended steps for communities to foster respect and safety of all students.
Select Curriculum for Teaching Emotional Self-Regulation Skills to see how teachers and school mental health professionals can incorporate emotional regulation and conflict resolution into the high school English/Language Arts curriculum, using characters in literature as a starting point.
Here you will find information about medications that are used to treat children and adolescents with mental health conditions. top
Perspective During a Complex Process
You will find
this web site most helpful if you keep the following points
- Mental health conditions, just like physical illnesses such
as asthma or diabetes, are experienced differently by each
individual, so even a "diagnosis" does not define
your child. Each child needs an individualized treatment
and accommodation strategy.
- Your child's treatment plan is more likely to be effective if
it takes into account the most up-to-date information about
available medications and therapies. You can use information
in the Child/Adolescent Mental Health
Information section of this web site as a starting point
for discussion with your child's treatment professional(s).
- Your child is more likely to succeed at school and at
home if all the important adults in his or her life (including
parents/guardians, teachers, administrators, and clinicians)
are in agreement about which symptoms receive priority, the
treatment plan, and interventions at school and at home.
You can use the information in this web site to help the
adults in your child's life come to a common understanding
and develop a shared plan of action.
- Your child or adolescent is more likely to buy in to
the shared plan of action if given a chance to contribute
to the plan. You can use the information in the School-Based
Interventions section of this web site as a springboard
for discussion with your child about what strategies work
best to help him or her succeed. top