If your teen is struggling with an addiction or with their mental health, you may be feeling overwhelmed, confused and unsure of where to turn for help and treatment. Navigating the mental health and addiction treatment system can be difficult and trying, which is why we’ve put together this handy guide of the first steps you should take towards finding help for your teen. By following these steps, you’ll be on your way to a treatment plan that can help your teen’s needs and issues.
Identify and Recognize the Problem
You may have noticed that your teen isn’t quite themselves, but if you’re able to narrow the problem down, it will be easier for your teen to get the treatment they need. Try to make precise observations about your teen’s behaviors, such as their sleep patterns, how often their moods change and if they’re acting secretive and avoidant when asked about their day or themselves.
Talk to Your Teen
Although it may be a difficult conversation, it’s important for you to talk to your teen about your observations and why you think they need help. Approach the topic with a gentle, non-accusatory tone and express your feelings and concerns in a non-judgemental way. Your teen may seem distant, but if you don’t talk with them about why you’re worried about them and why you want them to get treatment, it will be hard to help them get the help they need.
Speak to Your Family Doctor
Making an appointment with your family doctor is a key step in getting the proper treatment for your teen. Many psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals require a referral in order for you to book an appointment. A family doctor is usually the fastest and easiest way to get this referral. Plus, since your family doctor knows your teen’s health history, they may be able to provide you and your teen with some valuable insight.
Talk With Your Insurance Provider
Although treatment is often necessary for teens who are struggling with an addiction or mental health issue, it can be quite expensive. Be sure to contact your insurance provider to see what kinds of treatment they are able to cover. If you’re not on an insurance plan, contact your county; many areas have treatments available on a pay-what-you-can basis to uninsured teens.
Know When Your Teen Needs Immediate Help
While these first steps are important, they may not be enough for a teen who is in immediate danger due to their mental health or addiction. If you think your teen falls under this category, take your teen to your local ER, or use our tool to find inpatient and outpatient treatment centers near you.
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