When your child or teen is in distress, you will stop at nothing to get them the help that they need. Meeting with their primary care provider (PCP) is a good place to start. Discuss with them your concerns and any troubling behaviors you see with your child, then work as a team to decide the best course of action. This can include talk therapy with a counselor, group therapy with peers or your PCP might suggest your child meeting with a psychiatrist if they feel there may be significant mental health concerns. 

Psychiatrists primarily work with individuals who have been diagnosed or are seeking a diagnosis for a mental health disorder. Psychiatrists are licensed and trained to evaluate behaviors, test and diagnose mental health disorders such as those found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). 

In addition to diagnosing, psychiatrists are licensed to prescribe medications to help alleviate the symptoms of these disorders. The journey of medication management for kids and teens can be complicated and long.  It isn’t as simple as taking an antibiotic for an infection. There are many different medications that work differently on the brain and each brain has its own unique chemistry. With the infinite combinations of medications on the market to treat any given mental disorder, it is important to find a psychiatrist with whom you are comfortable. 

Find a psychiatrist that will listen to you and your child and take the time to understand how certain medications are or are not working. What may work for one teen may not be effective for yours. There are also possible side effects and as a parent you need to be aware of these so you know for what to watch out . Managing your child’s medications is a marathon, not a sprint. Find a psychiatrist that you both get along with and trust. If you feel like they aren’t listening to you, ask your PCP for another referral. It’s important that you all are comfortable with each other and that you and your child feel that you are being heard and your questions are being answered. 

At WHOA Behavioral Health we offer medication management services to clients ages 4 and up in Richmond, VA for the full range of mental health diagnoses. We offer other services that complement our psychiatric services. We believe that a team led, holistic approach to mental health provides the best chance of success for our clients. WHOA also offers services via telehealth so we can serve individuals across the state. Please contact us with your questions or concerns and learn what we can do to help your child or teen to feel their best.   

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