Getting the Best Treatment for a Mentally Ill Child

Best care scenarios for finding the right doctor and ideal treatment for a kid in need.

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At a time when we look for natural alternatives to everything, it can be tempting to seek out less-invasive therapies that feel like safer options. But experts warn that the time spent experimenting can delay your child from getting the kind of care that’s most effective. Instead, find a practitioner who has extensive experience with treatments that are “evidence-based,” meaning they have been scientifically proven through rigorous research and studies. Jamie Howard, PhD, a clinical psychologist at The Child Mind Institute, a clinic and research center in New York City, recommends you ask (and get satisfying answers to) these questions before settling on a doctor.

  • How much experience do you have treating children with similar symptoms?
  • What are the goals of this treatment, and how will we measure its effectiveness?
  • What is the evidence that this treatment is effective?
  • How long should we expect our child to be treated?
  • What are possible adverse events, and when might they appear?

Interested in more information on raising a child battling with a mental illness? Read our recent story on one family's struggle to get their child the care he needed.