Ten years ago, Lindy Garnette faced one of a parent’s toughest challenges: She had to find psychological help for her child.
Her son, then 5, had bipolar disorder, a diagnosis that might lead to a lifetime of prescriptions, therapy and behavior modification.
“He has his good days and his not-so-good days,” said Garnette, who is now the director for children and family mental health services for the Virginia-based National Mental Health Association. “It’s still a struggle.”
Parents of children who need psychological treatment face a series of struggles. On top of the still-present stigma of mental illness, there’s the search for competent and appropriate professionals and the battle with health-insurance providers to fund the sometimes long-term therapy needed.
But, Garnett and others say, a little guidance and a lot of perseverance can make finding a good match for your child easier.
Do You Need Therapy?
Psychologist Kevin Leman’s first advice to parents is: “Don’t find a therapist for your child.”
“If there’s a problem and you want to seek outside help, you go,” said Leman, a Tucson, Ariz.-based psychologist, father of five and author of 21 books. “Rushing your kids off to the shrink is not good.”