There are few things more heartbreaking for a parent than watching their child struggle and not knowing how to help. While there is a range of services available, finding the specific resources that will help your child can be incredibly difficult. If you’ve never dealt with this type of situation before, here are a few resources to be aware of, depending on what your child is struggling with.
When your child is struggling with depression, they may feel hopeless or empty. They may isolate themselves from others and spend time alone in their rooms. They may display a lack of motivation to do anything, even things they used to enjoy. Depression can lead to eating disorders, substance abuse, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts or feelings. VIOP is intensive outpatient therapy that provides your child with consistent mental health help without the need to admit them to a hospital or inpatient facility. It is important to remember that children do not fake depression, so if you see changes in your child’s behavior or if they share any negative thoughts or feelings with you, it needs to be taken seriously.
Verbal communication is a core skill that impacts education, getting a job and all relationships. If your child is struggling with speech development, the sooner you get them help, the better off they will be. Speech therapy will identify precisely what speech area your child is struggling with and develop a plan to address the issue. Your child’s speech therapist can focus on articulation, fluency, or language development, for example. They can concentrate on overall communication skills or specific skills within occupational therapy, depending on the needs identified in the speech assessment.
Substance use disorders (SUD) refer to when an individual abuses substances such as drugs or alcohol. Your child may be abusing illegal drugs or things they find legally, like prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, or inhalants. Regardless of what your child is abusing, it needs to be taken seriously, as any substance can cause long-term damage to their mental and physical health. Additionally, if your child is abusing substances, more significant issues at play need to be addressed. Children who are mentally and emotionally healthy do not decide to start abusing drugs and alcohol. Young people with a SUD will need to go through detox and treatment first, and then they may be best helped by intensive outpatient therapy and recovery support groups.
Eating disorders are most common among female teenagers. However, there is a growing concern regarding eating disorders among male teenagers. Anorexia and bulimia are eating disorders that involve the individual asserting control over the amount of food their body digests. This is accomplished either through extreme calorie restriction (anorexia) or purging what has been consumed (bulimia). While it may be easy to assume eating disorders are strictly about weight, they are actually about the feeling of control they provide the individual. It is more common among teens who have experienced some form of abuse. There are treatment and IOP options specifically for young people with eating disorders to help them learn new habits while also addressing the underlying issues.
Raising a child who is mentally and emotionally draining for parents may feel overwhelming. However, parents must seek out help and support. There is a wide range of resources and services to help children regardless of their struggles. You may also want to look into help for your own struggles, as you will be able to best help your child by taking care of yourself. In healing your own issues, you’ll be better equipped mentally and emotionally to support your child in a healthy way that promotes their healing.