We are in the middle of a pandemic, and the mental health of teens, young adults, and all adults is plummeting. The World Health Organization article published September 28th, 2020 contains startling facts about teen mental health.
- ½ of all mental health conditions start by 14 years old, but most cases go undecided and untreated
- Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for ages 15 - 19
- Globally, depression is the fourth leading cause of illness and disability among adolescents aged 15-19 years and fifteenth for those aged 10-14 years.
- Anxiety is the ninth leading cause for adolescents aged 15-19 years and sixth for those aged 10-14 years.
You are not alone if you are searching for a therapist for your tween or teen and how do you find a therapist for your teen? Here are four ways to help you find a therapist for your tween or teen.*
- Referrals. It is always helpful to start with a clinician who someone in your network knows and who has experience working with either teens or tweens. You can start with trusted professionals in the school, or in your community. It is important to note that many clinicians specialize in specific age groups, challenges, or diagnoses.
- Contact your insurance company to receive their list. Although this is a long task to sift through names that have space, you might find the perfect therapist.
- Online therapists. Since COVID-19 started and the federal government has eased restrictions on therapists and psychologists, there are more options available and it does not generally cost as much. As the parent, online therapy might be harder for you to get your head around, but for your digital native Gen Z child, technology might even be easier, and more effective, than in-person therapy. And a recent study from the Child Mind Institute and Ipsos found that parents ARE seeking telehealth.
- Broaden your network. There are a lot of parent support groups, both virtual and in-person. Since Covid began, all of these have gone virtual - and mothers know everything - so find the virtual parent group if you have a name of a clinician or need resources.
QUESTIONS TO ASK A THERAPIST
Once you have a couple of names it is common to interview them before you pass them on to your child. Some types of questions you might ask include:
- Do they have experience working with the particular age of your child? Working with a tween and working with a 17-year-old can be very different skills depending on why your teen needs to be in therapy.
- Does the clinician have experience working with your child’s struggle?
- Clinicians who are working with teens on the autism spectrum or perhaps ADHD with a processing speed difficulty is very different than working with a tween girl who has struggled with the death of a parent and who has developed rituals that are starting to prevent her from going to school for a full day.
- What are the clinician’s thoughts on medicine?
- Does the clinician collaborate with other clinicians in a professional setting?
- Why did the clinician pursue a degree?
- There are differences between a Marriage and Family Therapy degree vs a social worker vs. a Master’s in Counseling vs. a PsyD or have their CDAC. This will give you insight into how the professional does therapy.
- How do they work with the family if the tween or teen is the client?
Finding a clinician that will work well for your specific situation is important. Do not be afraid to ask questions, and become educated about the process. This will make it more likely that you are finding a good therapeutic match for your Gen Z child, as well as a good match for your entire family system. You are not alone in this search.
*The assumption of this blog is that the tween or teen is somewhat willing to see a therapist.
About the Author
Jenney Wilder, M.S.Ed launched All Kinds of Therapy in 2015, as the only independent online directory for the Family Choice Behavioral Healthcare Industry. With an impressive case of ADHD and her starter career in the 90's in Silicon Valley, the dream for creating a website with features like side-by-side comparison and an integrated newsletter was born. Jenney stopped counting treatment centers and all types of schools that she has visited when she hit 500 many years ago. She was the sponsoring author of the only Economic Impact Study of the Family Choice Behavioral Healthcare Industry, which revealed the only true financial figures about this industry (in Utah). Jenney has a Masters in Special Education from Bank Street College (NY) and a Bachelors of Arts focused on History from Wheaton College (MA).