20 Questions Parents Should Ask Their Teens Mental Health Provider

Do you know what to ask when your teen is exhibiting signs of a mental health disorder? (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)
Do you know what to ask when your teen is exhibiting signs of a mental health disorder? (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Teenagers have a lot to deal with.  Many of them will struggle with self-esteem, anxiety, and mild depression over the course of their teen years, which is normal.  However, if your teen is exhibiting signs of a mental health disorder, it is a good idea to meet with a mental health provider to discuss your concerns.  They can make a recommendation about whether or not your teen’s issues fall within the normal range of teenage experiences or if additional support may be needed.  The challenge for parents in your position is finding the right mental health provider.

You can request a referral from your child’s medical doctor, ask friends and family members for recommendations, or call your health insurance provider for a list of covered service providers.  Once you have a short list, schedule a meeting with them so that you can ask questions and determine which provider seems to be the best fit for your child.  Here are some of the most common questions parents can use to determine which mental health provider is right for their teen.

  1. What kind of training do you have and have you been trained specifically to work with teens?
  2. Do you have experience working with teens struggling with these specific challenges (those your own teen is dealing with)?
  3. Can you explain your philosophy when working with teens?
  4. How often will sessions be held?
  5. As a parent, what will my role be in my child’s treatment?
  6. How will you keep me informed of my child’s progress?
  7. What can I expect in terms of progress and how will I know if my child is getting better?
  8. Is there a chance that my child’s symptoms will get worse during treatment?
  9. If there is a crisis, what should I do?
  10. What can I do to support this process?
  11. Is there anything I should avoid doing, talking about, etc. while my child is in treatment?
  12. Do you have any recommendations about things I can read or review to learn more about what my child is dealing with and to help me be as supportive as possible during this time?
  13. Will my child need medication and if so how will I be notified?
  14. Should we discuss what happens during sessions at home?
  15. Can I ask my child about what goes on during treatment?
  16. What will my child need from me to make the most possible progress in the least amount of time?
  17. If my child does not make progress or does not respond to this course of treatment, what will the next step be?
  18. What information should I share with my teen’s school or teachers?
  19. Is there anything I should watch for?
  20. Is there anything else I need to know as a parent?




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