What Therapy Works Best for Behavioral Health Disorders in Children?

Children suffer from mental and behavioral health challenges as much as adults do. Young people are not immune to conditions like anxiety and depression and are more likely to suffer from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Behavioral Health Disorders in Children

As with adults, not every child responds to the same type of treatment. However, some forms of therapy are most effective for school-age children. 

Why Child Behavioral Health Matters

It is no secret that our childhoods significantly influence our adult life. Childhood trauma, for example, can lead to long-term problems if left untreated. Any young person’s teenage years are especially critical for developing positive, constructive mental and behavioral health habits.  

Studies have shown that about 50% of all diagnosable mental health conditions start developing by age 14. Moreover, 20% of all school-age children have dealt with bullying and peer pressure. They may experience stress concerning academic performance or social anxiety, and many teenagers have entertained severe suicidal thoughts. 

Behavioral health care delivered in school by qualified and experienced professionals makes a difference.

How Behavioral Health Professionals in Schools Help

If those conditions are left untreated, and the child does not receive the support they need, their academic performance will likely drop. Even if that is not the case, mental and behavioral health challenges may limit children for the rest of their lives. 

It is only natural for parents to think that they are in the best position to help. After all, they know their children best. That is true, but it is not always possible – as a layperson – to address behavioral health challenges effectively. Parents and teachers benefit from professional support as much as children do. 

ADHD, anxiety problems, behavior problems, and depression are the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in children.

Effective Behavioral Health Therapy for Children

Successful approaches to behavioral health care for children can vary as much as the individuals themselves. That means the most effective methods allow for a degree of flexibility. 

  • Thorough assessment
  • Behavioral counseling
  • Practical behavioral therapy
  • Other forms of therapy

Thorough Assessment

No matter which approach your behavioral health specialist suggests, any support starts with a thorough assessment of the individual and their behavioral health concerns. Problems like social anxiety and substance abuse may be apparent. But others, like those suffering from peer pressure and stress, may not be as visible. 

Another problem parents and other well-meaning laypeople face is that there can be a fine line between a typical problem and a mental health disorder. Take anxiety; for example, most people feel somewhat anxious before an important exam or when they are changing schools. However, when fear turns from a passing feeling to a debilitating condition, children need professional help. Severe anxiety can stop kids from reaching their academic goals and damage their relationships now and later. 

A thorough assessment by a behavioral health professional aims to determine the type of concern their client is struggling with. In addition, the counselor will also start to look for the underlying causes of the condition. 

    Behavioral Counseling 

    Behavioral counseling can be conducted through one-on-one sessions or in a group or family setting. 

    In its most basic form, counseling offers young people a safe place to discuss their concerns. Even children with great family relationships may have problems; they prefer to consult with a neutral person. In addition, a trained counselor knows which questions to ask to identify a concern’s root causes and address them more efficiently. 

    If necessary or deemed beneficial, school behavioral health counselors can ask classmates or family members to join the sessions. 

    Practical Behavioral Therapy

    Behavioral health care aims to develop positive behaviors that resolve mental health concerns before they develop into diagnosable conditions. In the context of school, these behaviors may include learning strategies. 

    They may also show opportunities to build relationships with others and overcome social anxiety. Then again, teenagers may need to learn behaviors that help them avoid scenarios that may lead to alcohol or drug abuse. Practical behavioral health care can support all of those. 

    Other Forms of Therapy

    If your students or kids suffer from conditions like anxiety or depression, counselors may suggest treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). 

    CBT is one of the most well-known forms of talk therapy available. This treatment is based on identifying behavioral and thought patterns that are no longer beneficial to a child or teenager and replacing them with more constructive habits. 

    There is no single treatment to address the variety of behavioral and mental health concerns that children and teenagers may face. Instead, a thorough assessment is necessary before counselors can determine the most promising method.

    Why Schools Are Ideal Places for Behavioral Health Care

    Children and teenagers spend a large part of their day at school. That means offering behavioral health care services in an educational setting can remove some of the most significant barriers to receiving support. 

    For example, not every family can access private mental and behavioral health care. Others might struggle to secure appointments outside of school and working hours. Then there is the issue of traveling to a counselor’s practice. That is why offering behavioral health counseling in schools, and other educational institutions can be hugely beneficial. 

    Working with a proven partner like TrueCare™ means your school has access to a network of counselors with versatile experience and a wide range of specializations. Students do not have to go on waitlists or deal with other delays. They get the care and support they need right when they need it. 

    About TrueCare™

    TrueCare™ is a nationwide Health & Wellness platform for families and businesses providing end-to-end solutions for COVID-19 testing, screening, vaccination, home care, and corporate well-being services.

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