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Answers to Questions About Your Child's Mental Health
Children can have mental health disorders that interfere with the way they think, feel, and act. Although some behavior problems can be attributed to normal child development, some require professional help.
Children's mental health is as important as their physical health. Great care should be taken to help a child who has a mental health problem because mental, behavioral, or emotional disorders can affect the child's future.
The following answers to questions parents often ask can help you protect your child's mental well-being.
How do I know if my child's problems are serious?
Problems deserve attention when they are severe, persistent, and affect daily activities.
Seek help if your child:
Is often sad, worried or fearful
Has dramatic changes in appetite or sleep needs
Is spending most of his or her time alone instead of with friends or family
Has declining grades or interest in school
Is hyperactive, impulsive or has trouble concentrating
Is self-destructive or overly aggressive toward others
Whom should I go to for help?
First, have your child seen by a health care provider. Your health care provider may recommend that you take your child to a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or behavioral therapist.
How are mental disorders diagnosed in young children?
As with adults, disorders are diagnosed by observing signs and symptoms. A skilled professional will consider symptoms in the context of the child's age and reports from parents and other caretakers or teachers.
Which mental disorders are commonly seen in children and teens?
Anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders such as panic or generalized anxiety are the most common mental health problems occurring in children and adolescents. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 8 percent of 13- to 18-year-olds suffer from an anxiety disorder.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This condition affects 4 to 12 percent of school-aged children. Its symptoms include poor attention and concentration and high distractibility and impulsiveness.
Depression. Up to 2 percent of children and up to 8 percent of adolescents suffer from depression. It affects mood, energy, interests, sleep, appetite, and overall functioning. Symptoms are extreme and persistent and can interfere significantly with the ability to function at home or at school.
Bipolar disorder. This illness, which affects up to 3 percent of adolescents, causes extreme shifts in mood, energy, and functioning. Disruptive periods alternate with periods of withdrawal and other depressive symptoms.
How are children with mental health problems treated?
Sometimes, psychotherapies, behavioral strategies, and family support may be all a child needs. In other cases, medications are needed to help the child cope. If medication is prescribed, the child should be monitored and evaluated regularly.
When untreated, mental health disorders can lead to school failure, drug abuse, violence, and even suicide.
Most children who receive the right kind of help improve and go on to live full and healthy lives as adults. Seeking help early is key to a positive outcome.
Valley Health provides a treatment team of licensed professionals from multiple disciplines to ensure a total system of healing for each patient. Treatment for inpatient services of acute care-or short term stay- is supervised by a team of psychiatrists and is supported by registered nurses, social workers, licensed professional counselors, and activity coordinators. Outpatient services for psychiatric assessment and medication management are offered off-campus through Valley Behavioral Health at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital in Woodstock, Virginia.
Intake Services is staffed by experienced psychiatric professionals able to quickly respond to crisis phone calls, or routine requests for information. Team members provide assessment for hospitalization and/or referral information to community providers. Information on Behavioral Health Services is available by calling 540-536-8152.
Inpatient Services (Adult: 18 years and older)
Our facility provides comprehensive, acute, short-term assessment and treatment of psychiatric disorders with or without co-morbid identified substance abuse.
Each patient’s treatment is individualized and developed by a multidisciplinary team of psychiatrists, therapists, nurse case managers, psychiatric social workers and activity coordinators. Treatment options include individual, family and group modalities of therapy, psychopharmacology, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and other therapeutic activities to promote wellness. We advocate a “community” approach, collaborating with mental health and social service agencies, substance abuse programs, and other providers in the community to meet the medical and social support needs of patients after discharge.
Insurance Information: Valley Health Behavioral Health accepts Medicaid, Medicare and many private insurances and managed care plans.
Additional information on Behavioral Health Services: 540-536-8152.
Services available include psychiatric assessments and medication management. Behavioral health care is available for adolescents 14 years through seniors.
Valley Behavioral Health at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital
755 South Main Street, Suite 102
Woodstock, VA. 22664
Structured Outpatient Program for Seniors in Winchester
Valley Health now offers a Structured Outpatient Program (SOP) for Seniors that focuses on enhancing a patient’s skills and resources to age gracefully, foster quality relationships, self-confidence and self-reliance. To learn more, click here
Did you know that depression will affect one in every five people during life-time? To learn more about depression, and how to reduce the stigma associated with mental health, go to http:/www.ifred.org/
Additional community resources for Mental Health information and services: