Teen Mental Illness and Treatment
When it comes to your teen daughter or son's mental health, you don’t want to take any chances. Taking the time to understand the types of mental health treatment programs available to your child and family can help you make a better, more informed decision about the care your loved one needs.
In addition, understanding the various behavioral and emotional issues that may be affecting your child can help you choose the best treatment option or treatment plans for your family. As you educate yourself, you’ll be in a better position to get your daughter or son the behavioral health care they deserve for their mental health.
Learn more about the most common types of teen mental health conditions and the benefits of working with an independent therapeutic educational consultant to find your child the best mental health treatment that fits their unique needs.
Common Mental Health Disorders in Teens
Do you have questions about certain actions that feel off in your child? Have you seen any particular behaviors in your daughter or son that are worrisome?
It’s important to be aware of any warning signs that your teenager may be struggling with mental health issues. You, as their caregiver or parent, play a critical role in understanding some of the best options for your child and knowing when to seek out help for them, so it’s important that you stay informed.
Some of the most common teen mental illnesses and mental health problems include:
- Adoption and attachment issues
- Alcohol and substance abuse or substance use disorders
- Anorexia, bulimia or other eating disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Conduct disorder
- Co-occurring disorders
- Gaming addiction
- Identity development or self-esteem issues
- Learning disabilities
- Mood disorders or mood swings
- Narcissistic personality disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Oppositional defiant disorder
- Out-of-control behaviors
- Sensory processing disorder
- Suicide or suicidal thoughts
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How an Independent Therapeutic Educational Consultant Can Help Families
When looking into an adolescent mental health treatment program for a loved one, family members are often inundated by the results of their search. Trying to find the right mental health services and treatment program for your child can be overwhelming.
Thankfully, independent therapeutic educational consultants are skilled at counseling families to help choose a program that is a good personal match for their daughter or son: one that will both foster their child's academic and social growth.
Educational consultants can provide a family and teen with individual attention and firsthand knowledge of hundreds of adolescent treatment opportunities and options.
Independent therapeutic educational consultants spend much of their time visiting mental health teen treatment centers and evaluating therapeutic programs. This allows them to gain knowledge of a program’s strengths, as well as an understanding of the types of therapy options and therapy sessions offered there. This also gives therapeutic educational consultants the opportunity to meet the program's clinicians and know more about the expertise of the mental health team that will be treating your child. Thus, educational consultants can broaden the potential choices of therapeutic programs for families, as well as provide vital help in weighing factors such as cost, curriculum and location.
Then, after a family chooses a treatment program for their child, an independent therapeutic educational consultant can be there to provide guidance and support to caregivers and parents through the treatment process.
Mental Health Treatment Options for Teens
You always want the best for your teenage daughter or son, especially when it comes to their mental health.
There are multiple mental health treatment options for young people that an independent therapeutic educational consultant can help families choose between to improve their child's well-being.
Treatment options for teens include:
- In-home therapy: In-home therapeutic services provide consistent, structured care for teenagers and their families in a home environment, at school, or in a safe place in the community – where licensed clinicians conduct therapy sessions with both your child and family in a more relaxed setting – rather than in a typical therapist's office setting.
- Outpatient therapy: Outpatient treatment programs provide the help your child needs locally, allowing them the opportunity to live at home when they are not receiving treatment so they can have a more normal daily routine and continue to be with family or friends and attend school or work.
- Residential treatment centers: Residential treatment programs are places where teens and young adults can experience 24-hour care, pursuing therapy away from the stress of their home environment. Your child can access a higher level of care in a clinically focused, intensive, live-in residential treatment center where they are continually monitored and supervised by trained staff.
- Short-term residential treatment programs: Short-term residential programs are intensive treatment programs that last between 28-30 days. Within that time, teenagers and young adults live at the treatment center, where your child will participate in a strict schedule of activities all centered around recovery.
- Therapeutic boarding schools: A therapeutic boarding school is a residential treatment center that combines education and therapy for troubled teenagers who may be dealing with behavioral issues, emotional or psychological disorders.
- Transitional living for teens and young adults: Transitional living centers serve as places for youth to have an independent life while slowly transitioning back into society, using the resources and tools gained at their residential treatment center.
- Wilderness therapy: Wilderness treatment programs are typically short-term programs that use the great outdoors as the setting for therapy sessions for troubled teens.
Ways to Find the Best Mental Health Treatment Program for Teens
To help you make the best choice for your child's treatment, here are some additional steps that you can follow:
1. Assess your loved one’s needs.
If he or she will agree, it’s a good idea to have your child undergo psycho-educational assessments to gain insight into the nature of his/her struggle. With the support of an educational consultant or mental health professional, this information can help you make a better treatment choice. If your child is not compliant prior to treatment, however, these assessments can also be conducted during treatment. You should check with your mental health team for their recommendations.
2. Check associations and credentials.
Whenever you’re choosing a treatment option, it’s important to make sure program and staff associations and credentials are up to par. Here a few things to look for:
- Academic accreditation from a regional accreditation body such as AdvancED, NAAS or WASC
- CARF, COA, Joint Commission or NIPSA accreditation
- Membership in a national therapeutic association such as AACRC or NATSAP
- State licensure to operate as a treatment facility
- 24-hour on-call medical staff (preferably RN, Nurse Practitioner, or physician)
- Clinical leadership provided by clinically licensed therapists
- CPR and First Aid certified staff
- Master’s level therapists
- Psychiatrist affiliated or on staff
- Special-education credentialed teachers on staff if your child has learning differences
- State-credentialed teachers
- Wilderness First Responder certification for wilderness program staff
3. Create a support system.
Not only is picking a treatment program for your loved one stressful, but that level of stress can make a difficult decision even more difficult. It’s important to have the support of family and friends during this time both to soothe your emotions and to help you process information and think through options. This is not the time for isolation or secrecy. This is a time to reach out for support.
4. Seek professional advice.
The best initial sources of advice regarding treatment are educational consultants and mental health professionals. It’s worth the cost of these services to ensure that you have the objective advocacy, guidance and support of a treatment team to make a sound choice for your child.
5. Talk to other parents and visit program centers and facilities.
If you’re looking for a residential treatment program, request to talk with other parents. This is a great way to get insight into the program. Also, visit the facilities of any program you’re considering. Insist on talking with students, staff from every department, and the program director. You should be allowed to tour the entire facility and ask questions freely. It’s important to come with a list of questions prepared; program visits can be taxing and it’s easy to forget what to ask while you’re touring. It’s also important to listen to your gut when you visit a program; the program you select will be your child’s home for a period of time, and no one knows your child like you do.
Interested in Mental Health Treatment for Your Child?
Embark Behavioral Health can help you find the treatment that your child needs to live a happier and more productive life.
We offer teenagers and young adults specialized treatment services through 19 of our mental health programs and schools, which are located across the U.S.
If you would like to learn more about one of our programs for your child, please call us, request more information about insurance verification or have one of our Admissions Specialists contact you here.