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When to get your child counseling

When to get your child counseling

Many parents, caregivers, and guardians often struggle with the question, “Does my child need a therapist?”

During the coronavirus pandemic children have been experiencing all kinds of emotions including sadness, worry, anger, anxiety, depression, frustration, and fear, among others. There can be fear of parents losing jobs, loss of friends who change schools, loss of a family member or friends, and moving to a different home. All these can be overwhelming and may be portrayed in behavioral changes and anger outbursts.

Some behaviors that should raise concerns for you include:

  • Your child constantly reports experiencing problems at school, with peers and family or other concerns such as life stressors.
  • Makes suicidal or self-harm threats or comments.
  • Starts to portray low self-esteem and confidence.
  • Has lost interest in activities they enjoyed and engaged in.
  • Your child is engaging in self destruction – sometimes portrayed as anger.
  • Isolating from peers and family.
  • Is communicating, showing and/or demonstrating signs of hopelessness.
  • There are some significant changes in sleep or eating patterns.
  • Child engaging in alcohol or drug use.
  • Struggling to cope with grief and loss, or trauma.
  • Your child dieting obsessively, or binging or is participating in violent acts such as starting fires or cruelty towards animals.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s medical provider or pediatrician for guidance. Taking your child to the pediatrician for a well-child visit allows your pediatrician to examine your child for much more than an illness. These visits not only benefit your child, but also allow the provider to help your family establish healthy habits or provide supportive resources or advice on any questions you may have. They might give recommendations for licensed mental health clinicians available in the Campbell County, Wyoming community, which could help your child learn some healthy coping skills for different life stressors.

If you want to learn more, read “Signs that your child may need a therapist” from the Cleveland Clinic here.

Jane King is a Provisional Professional Counselor (PPC) at the Campbell County Medical Group Kid Clinic, a school-based pediatric clinic in Gillette, Wyoming. The medical clinic serves children ages 2 weeks to 18 years old; and counseling services for children 4 years old to 21 years old. For more information, call 307-688-8700 or visit www.cchwyo.org/kidclinic. The Kid Clinic is a collaborative effort between Campbell County Health and Campbell County School District.