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How to Get Your Adolescent an Official Mental Health Diagnosis

Diagnosing a mental health disorder in adolescents can be challenging because many factors influence a adolescent’s moods and behaviors, including age, stage of development, physical illnesses, and environmental factors. If your adolescent is demonstrating emotional or behavioral difficulties that interfere with their ability to function, seek help from someone trained in providing a mental health assessment for adolescents. These evaluations are a critical first step in getting your adolescent and family the support they need. With an accurate diagnosis, your adolescent’s mental health treatment provider will be able to develop a treatment plan based on your adolescent’s unique needs.

At Beyond Healthcare in Toledo, OH, we provide comprehensive outpatient mental health services to adolescents, teens, and families in need. We understand how frightening it is for adolescents to feel out of control of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We also recognize the toll it takes on parents and other family members. Contact our team today at 833.698.0453 if you think your adolescent might need a mental health assessment.

Identifying the Need for a Mental Health Assessment

In some cases, the need for mental health services is apparent. Often, it can be challenging to recognize the need partly because change is a part of normal childhood development and symptoms of disorders vary depending on an adolescent’s age. Your adolescent might not be able to explain their feelings or why they are behaving a particular way. Additionally, the stigma associated with mental illness, concerns about the use of medication, or financial and logistical challenges to treatment might initially prevent you from seeking help.

If you are questioning the need for a mental health assessment for your adolescent, consider the following signs:

  • Persistent sadness lasting two weeks or more
  • Self-harm or talking about hurting themselves
  • Out-of-control behavior, outbursts, or extreme irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in appetite and significant weight gain or loss
  • Frequent somatic complaints like headaches and stomachs
  • Problems at school and poor academic performance

If you have concerns about your adolescent’s mental health, consult your pediatrician. Talk with teachers, caregivers, close friends, and family members to see if they recognize changes in your adolescent’s behavior and share this information with the doctor.

What Happens in a Mental Health Assessment?

Both adolescents and parents may be nervous about going through a mental health assessment, especially if you do not know what to expect. Mental health disorders in adolescents are diagnosed based on signs and symptoms and how they impact daily functioning. A comprehensive mental health assessment will include:

  • Interviews with the adolescent and parents
  • Complete medical history and physical exam
  • History of physical or emotional trauma
  • Family history of physical and psychological health
  • Timeline of the adolescent’s developmental progress
  • Standardized assessments and questionnaires for the adolescent and parents
  • Current and past academic performance

Before a mental health interview, you can ensure your adolescent is prepared by letting them know what to expect and ensuring that they get a good night’s sleep and have a healthy meal. You can prepare by making a list of your concerns and observations, a list of current and past medications, including over-the-counter ones, and questions you have. With an official mental health diagnosis, your adolescent will have access to effective treatment designed to help them become the best versions of themselves.

Contact Beyond Healthcare to Schedule Your Adolescent’s Mental Health Interview

A mental health assessment from a qualified mental healthcare provider is essential for getting your adolescent’s official mental health diagnosis. The goal of a mental health assessment is to identify or rule out a mental health disorder as the cause of your adolescent’s struggles with friends, at school, or in your home. After receiving a mental health diagnosis, you may be able to better understand your adolescent, advocate for their needs, and even qualify for programs that could assist you and your family.  Beyond Healthcare is a community-based organization that offers an inclusive and welcoming environment designed to help adolescents and their families overcome the challenges associated with mental health disorders. Contact us at 833.698.0453 or use our online form to learn more about mental health assessment and diagnosis and our many mental health services.