A child who suffers from a mental health disorder can leave many families, including parents and siblings, in a state of frustration and chaos. For parents, obtain the proper diagnosis and, ultimately, treatment is crucial to not only maintaining the health and welfare of the family dynamic but also to improve the overall health and welfare of the child who suffers from the mental health condition.
As part of the mental health diagnosis and treatment process, many pediatricians will refer children, with symptomology of a mental impairment, to a child psychiatrist or child psychologist for a mental health evaluation. As a parent, understanding the dynamics of the mental health evaluation will provide for a more supportive effort in diagnosing and obtaining the treatment your child so desperately needs.
When referral to a child psychologist or child psychiatrist is inevitable, it is crucial to obtain a full mental health evaluation of your child to ensure all facets of the child’s personality are assessed. With each mental health evaluation, the treatment will begin with a mental health interview, which involves discussions with both parents and the child involved. Occasionally, the siblings may be involved in the initial mental health interview but, in many cases, the mental health professional can adequately gather information from speaking with the parents and child sufferer directly.
Within the mental health interview, the interviewer will work to gather key pieces of information which will guide and formulate a diagnosis and treatment plan for your child. They will first want to discuss the extent and dynamics of the mental health symptoms, including frequency, duration and timing of mental health disturbances. Secondly, there will be a detailed account of your family history. Issues such as prior marriage, divorce, deaths and even details about the siblings will need to be revealed to ensure the mental health professional is given a full picture of the residential and family setting of the child.
Preparing for the mental health interview, at times, may involve the input of educators and family friends who may have cared for the child at some point in their lives. In most cases, educators provide a greater spectrum of symptoms and understanding as they experience the day-to-day personality traits of the child when away from the discipline of parents.
The key to success in this first crucial part of the mental health evaluation, known as the mental health interview, is to be well prepared in the questions and details the child psychologist or child psychiatrist may ask. With proper preparation of all potential parties, a more comprehensive picture can be outlined for the mental health professional which, in collaboration with the other dynamics of the mental health evaluation, will go along way in obtaining a more accurate mental health diagnosis and treatment plan for your child.