Mental Health & Wellness in Kids
Mental health in children and adolescents is just as important as their good physical health. It’s sometimes hard to know whether a child is struggling from typical behavioral challenges experienced as part of growing up or suffering from heightened levels of anxiety or depression. Parents may have trouble distinguishing between mildly concerning behaviors and those that need closer monitoring.
Pediatricians have deep experience with monitoring behavioral milestones and regularly screen for mental health and wellness during annual well exams. Parents are urged to contact their primary care provider with any concern that may warrant further review.
Behavioral Health Assessment
If your child or teen is having trouble at home or school, not getting along well with others, experiencing mental health challenges, or facing big life changes, our behavioral health team can help! Through assessment and brief, solution-focused interventions, we offer families the tools and support they need to manage common childhood problems like anxiety, depression, behavior challenges, and concerns related to developmental disorders. We can also help you work through feeding, sleeping, and toileting difficulties in younger children.
In addition to your primary care medical team, Metropolitan Pediatrics has dedicated behavioral health clinicians within each clinic. All of us work together to help children, adolescents, and families feel and live better. Although we have different roles, we function as one care team, committed to meeting your family’s physical, emotional, social, and behavioral needs throughout all our locations in Oregon.
Concerns We Address
We commonly provide consultation for the following:
- Academic concerns
- Anxiety disorders
- Behavior concerns
- Developmental disorders
- Nutritional insecurity
- Parenting challenges
- Stressful life changes & trauma
Behavioral Health Services
Depending on the unique needs of each patient and family, our behavioral health clinicians may provide:
- Brief, solution-focused therapy
- Guidance & support for parents
- Connection to community support programs
Family Resources & Support
With the support and guidance of our integrated care team, families learn how to cope with stress, solve problems, make decisions, and overcome challenges. No matter the struggle, we’ll come up with a solution and treatment plan, while connecting your family with people, places, and programs that can help.
As behavioral health providers, we are happy to offer assistance and confidential support to improve your family’s well-being, including:
- Connection to resources for basic needs (e.g., affordable housing, utilities, transportation)
- Health system advocacy
- Information on how to apply for insurance/other benefits
- Medical equipment
- Special education advocacy
Healthy Minds = Healthy Bodies
If you feel that behavioral health services may benefit your child or family members, please talk with your pediatrician during your next visit to one of our health clinics.
We’ll work together to ensure your family is resilient, meeting the challenges and growing pains of childhood and adolescence in a safe environment.
Recommended Books (Children)
- Beyond Discipline: Parenting that Lasts a Lifetime, by Edward R. Christophersen
- Freeing Your Child from Anxiety: Powerful, Practical Solutions to Overcome Your Child’s Fears, Worries, and Phobias, by Tamar Chansky
- Incredible Years: A Troubleshooting Guide for Parents of Children Aged 3 to 8, by Carolyn Webster-Stratton
- Parenting That Works: Building Skills that Last a Lifetime, by Edward R. Christophersen & Susan L. Mortweet
- Parenting the Strong-Willed Child, by Rex L. Forehand and Nicholas Long
- Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic, by Mary S. Kurcinka
- Raising Your Spirited Child Workbook, by Mary S. Kurcinka
- SOS! Help for Parents: A Practical Guide for Handling Common Everyday Behavior Problems, by Lynn Clarke
- The Berenstain Bears Learn about Strangers, by Stan & Jan Berenstain
- The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, “Chronically Inflexible” Children, by Ross W. Greene
- Tobin Learns to Make Friends, by Diane Murrell
- Volcano in My Tummy: Helping Children to Handle Anger, by Warwick Pudney & Elaine Whitehouse
- Your Defiant Child: 8 Steps to Better Behavior, by Russell Barkley and Christine Benton
Recommended Books (Teens)
- AAP’s HealthyChildren.org
- AAP’s HealthyChildren.org – Spanish
- Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
- Autism – Spectrums Magazine
- Back-to-school Anxiety
- Children with Anxiety
- Children with Anxiety – For Parents
- Choosing a Preschool for Your Child
- Developmental Milestones
- Grief & Loss: During the Holidays
- Grief & Loss: After a Suicide Death
- National Child Stress Traumatic Network
- Positive Reinforcement
- Psychology of Spanking
- Printable Behavioral Reinforcement Charts for Children
- Tips for Communicating with Your Child
- Traumatic Experiences (Sesame Street)
Most of the following apps cost money; however, you can download several basic relaxation/meditation apps for free!
- 3D Brain helps explain everything from executive functioning to trauma.
- Taming the Anger-Monster teaches younger kids anger management skills.
- DBT Diary Card and Skills Coach teaches teens and adults some fundamental skills to help with emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and fostering healthier social relationships.
- iCBT lets users track and correct negative thinking.
- iCouch CBT helps kids and adults practice correcting automatic negative thought patterns.
- MoodKit is a great tool for teens and young adults with mood-related issues. It includes multiple Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) exercises, as well as sections on improving health habits, increasing social activities, and increasing physical activity.
- Simply Being – Guided Meditation for Relaxation and Presence is a decent and fairly inexpensive mindfulness based app.
- Relax & Sleep Well guides users through several relaxation exercises.
- Sosh is a social skills app specifically designed for teens and young adults with Asperger’s Syndrome. Due to the cost of this app, we recommend trying the free trial version prior to purchase.