When should I look for additional help for my child?
Ups and downs are normal, but there should be a balance. If you're concerned, always err on the side of caution. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to figure out if your child is experiencing something out of the ordinary.
How often is the concerning behavior happening? If your child seems sad, is it happening once a week or all of the time? If tantrums happen, how long do they last?
How much is the concerning behavior interfering with your child's life?
You can also talk to people you trust — relatives, friends, or other trusted sources. The Child Mind Institute also offers a Symptom Checker that can help guide you toward next steps if you are worried about your child.
Where should I go for outside help?
Check in with a trusted pediatrician, mental health professional, or teacher if you're feeling at all worried. Experts in child development can help you distinguish between expected developmental challenges, and feelings or behaviors that are more concerning.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has a tool to help you search for an AAP member pediatrician. And the NAMI Help Line is a free peer-support service with volunteers to answer questions, offer support, and provide practical next steps.
I'm looking for affordable resources.
Many communities have hospitals or other clinics that can adjust their costs based on your income and insurance coverage. Trusted school counselors, clergy or primary care clinicians should be able to help you find the right resources.
I'm looking for culturally relevant resources
Kids of color are often over-diagnosed by mental health professionals, and under-referred for care. Look for therapists and medical professionals who have expertise in working with children of color, and are mindful of their unique pressures.
Psychology Today lets you filter for culturally sensitive therapists. Therapy for Black Girls and Therapy for Latinx let you search for providers by your address. And Black Mental Health Alliance can connect you to a culturally-competent mental health professional through their database.
If you or your child are in a crisis
You are not alone, and help is always available. Get immediate support 24/7. Reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also call 877-990-8585 to talk to someone in Cantonese, Mandarin, Fujianese, Japanese or Korean. It’s free, and everything you tell them is confidential, unless it’s essential to contact emergency services to keep you or your child safe.