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Questions for the Experts: How does counseling work at the Kid Clinic?

Questions for the Experts: How does counseling work at the Kid Clinic?

We asked members of our medical staff to answer some common questions they hear from their patients. Read Holly Hink's, APRN, answer to: My child’s teacher has suggested that he could benefit from seeing a counselor at the Kid Clinic. How does that work?

A: The Kid Clinic is a part of Campbell County Medical Group, and is a joint effort with Campbell County School District. It is unique in that it is a primary care medical clinic for kids ages 2 weeks to 21, and also provides mental health counseling for kids ages 4 to 21. Many people don’t think that kids can suffer from mental health issues like depression and anxiety, but that is just not the case. Because we’re in the same location, the counselors and I work together as a team for the benefit of the child and their family.

I may see a child for a medical problem who I think could benefit from seeing a counselor. If the parent agrees, they can see one of our counselors, and after the initial appointment, the school district will provide transportation to and from their counseling appointments.

There are times when I see a child I’m concerned about mental health-wise, and I can ask one of our counselors to see them that day if possible. The same holds true if a child brings up a medical issue during their counseling appointment—I am available to collaborate with the counselors.

I’m a firm believer that medication doesn’t always fix everything. Often the combination of medication and counseling can really help a child. For example, if a child has suffered a traumatic event, or has anxiety or depression, counseling can help them work through their feelings and develop coping strategies. As the medical provider, I can also evaluate the child to assure there are not any additional issues and discuss medications if warranted. If not addressed, these things can sometimes show up as behavioral issues in school or at home.

Parents also ask me what things they should be looking for that might mean their child should see a counselor. Withdrawing from their friends, stopping the activities they enjoy, sleeping more, or eating less are all signs that something isn’t quite right. A change in behavior, and changes in school performance should also be discussed with your child’s healthcare provider.

Holly Hink, APRN, CPNP, works at the Campbell County Medical Group Kid Clinic, a school-based pediatric clinic in Gillette, Wyoming. It is located at 800 Butler Spaeth Rd., across from St. Matthew’s Catholic Church. The Kid Clinic is open Monday-Friday from 8 am-5 pm. For more information, call 307-688-8700 or visit www.cchwyo.org/services/pediatrics/kid-clinic/.