Mental-Health Professionals & Levels of Treatment
All mental-health professionals, after an initial diagnosis, should develop a comprehensive treatment plan which will address biology, individual psychology, and social issues.
For example, a treatment plan might include accommodations for school, a social skills group, medication for depression, regular exercise, and a behavioral plan to reduce sibling fighting.
The following list of medical, health and therapy professionals treat patients at varying levels:
- Pediatricians and Family Practice Doctors
- They are the front line, and are qualified to treat ADHD, and uncomplicated anxiety or depression.
- APRN’s, or Advanced Practice Registered Nurses.
- Nurse Practitioners who specialize in mental-health treatment, and many are specialists in child and adolescent mental health.
- Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists.
- These are the doctors who have the highest degree of training to treat children or teenagers with biologic (medical) mental-health problems.
- Psychologists (most have a Ph.D.)
- These are the most highly trained therapists, and they are the only professionals qualified to perform psychological testing. Most have training in research
- Social Workers, LCSW or Licensed Clinical Social Workers
- Most are well trained in one or more psychotherapy disciplines
- Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists are trained in psychotherapy, and some make it a focus in their careers.
- APRN’s have training in psychotherapy, and some focus on this area
- Marriage and Family Therapists, MFT, focus on marital and parenting issues
How do parents and teenagers know they are getting good treatment? The professional who is providing treatment should be someone who allows them to be open and honest, a good listener, who asks the right questions. They should answer any questions from either the teenager or the parent, and their treatment plan should make sense. The treatment is either successful, or the plan should be adapted. Trust should develop early in the process.
Modern mental-health treatment is not mysterious; it is about trust, working together as a team, and treating the mood disorder until the teenager is happy and functioning well again.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800- 273 –TALK (8255)