Prioritizing Children’s Mental Health At Sunshine Pediatrics.

Prioritizing Children's Mental Health Support at Sunshine Pediatrics

Prioritizing Children’s Mental Health At Sunshine Pediatrics.

Prioritizing a Children's Mental Health is of paramount importance, it requires a collective and a coordinated effort between the parents or caregivers, the primary health provider and the system. The aim at providing an effective outcome can only be achieved primarily by addressing the root cause. Children who feel well supported tend to reach their highest potential mentally as they grow into adulthood. The common struggles of a child with mental health issues often are anxiety, trauma, depression, feeling of isolation, suicidal thoughts and academic pressure, ADHD. The problem arises when they face difficulty to obtain timely and appropriate care.

How Parents Affect Their Children's Mental Health

Parenting style significantly affects a child’s mental health. Overprotective and over controlling parenting often leads to increased risk of a child having mental health issues. Depression can have a considerable effect on how parents interact with their children especially in the early years. Children are very sensitive to their parents’ emotions, hence a parent that is showing signs of distress such as economic hardships, divorce or an illness may make a child vulnerable to a mental health disorder themselves. At SUNSHINE PEDIATRICS our team of experienced providers are trained to recognize and provide a comprehensive approach to children’s mental health by offering specialized programs that address their individual emotional well-being.

1. Pediatric Screening

The pediatrician is the first person a parent approaches when a parent is concerned about their child’s mental health. Our team of qualified professionals at Sunshine Pediatrics recognize the importance of identifying at-risk patients so the necessary interventions are taken to avoid the problems from getting worse. Children with mental health issues are assessed for ADHD, anxiety, depression, substance use, trauma and suicidal thoughts.

2. Early Intervention Programs

We at SUNSHINE PEDIATRICS believe that early intervention is important as it can avoid the long-term impact of a mental health issue and give the child a greater chance to a successful future. There are different types of interventions that are available for children struggling with mental health issues. These include therapies both for the child and the family, counselling or medications, depending upon the specific need of the child. Some of the most common types of mental health treatments available are

I. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This is more of a talk therapy. This type of therapy usually teaches a child to deal with their emotions and how it affects their behavior. The therapist helps the child to process their negative thought patterns into more positive and productive ones and teaches the child to look at things differently and respond differently to situations. Cognitive therapy is useful in conditions such as ADHD, anxiety and mood disorders, anxiety with autism spectrum disorders, trauma and PTSD, CBT can be done alongside other therapies as well.


Cognitive behavioral therapy can be done in variety of ways, depending upon the nature of the condition and type of therapy needed they are
  • Play therapy
  • Trauma-Focused CBT
  • Modeling
  • Restructuring
  • Exposure

III. Family Therapy

In this type of therapy, the child is counselled alongside the parents or caregivers. The advantage of having family therapy is that it helps the counselor understand the family dynamics that could have contributed to the child’s mental health. Family therapy focusses on relationship patterns and communication between family members.

IV. Some forms of Family Therapy are

  • Family-Based Behavioral Treatment
This therapy basically encourages the parents to lead by example by changing their own behavior thus encouraging the child to follow a similar pattern. The parents are counselled and trained in child management and problem solving. Family-based behavioral treatment has been beneficial for issues in children pertaining to weight issues in children like obesity and anorexia especially in adolescents.
  • Multidimensional Family Therapy
This therapy basically focusses on adolescents and addresses the child, parents and environmental factors that are known to influence a wide variety of behavioral issues in the child. Since a child is exposed to various factors at home and outside, the treatment should be focused on compassion and respect. Multidimensional Family Therapy helps the youth to cope with problem solving, decision making while the family learns to enhance the family functioning.
  • Multisystemic Therapy (MST)
This therapy is an intervention therapy for the youth who struggle with antisocial behaviors, delinquency and substance abuse problems. MST assesses these behaviors in the context to a larger multisystem of influence like school, society, and family, thus improving the functioning internally between the child and their family and externally with the social factors.
  • Functional Family Therapy (FFT)
A family-based therapy that helps with behavioral issues associated with youth mainly substance use. The aim of FFT is mainly to reduce negativity around the household among the youth and their families. The child and the family are encouraged and motivated to reduce problematic behaviors that build negativity in the house by increasing communication among the family, good parenting and the way a conflict is dealt with.
  • Medication
At Sunshine Pediatrics we give importance to the incorporation of medication along with psychotherapy for a comprehensive mental health treatment. The patient must undergo a thorough psych evaluation to come up with a treatment plan tailored specific to their needs. The child is then assigned to one of our skilled therapists at SUNSHINE PEDIATRICS who spends enough time with a patient during every visit, this approach ensures a highly effective treatment plan of combining medication along with therapy to treat the child’s mental health issues. The patient is reevaluated every 2-4 weeks to access the benefits or side effects of the medication or having the need to formulate a different treatment plan.

3. Providing Access to Counselling Services

After evaluating and coming to a diagnosis by the child’s pediatrician, the child is then referred to a psychologist, psychiatrist or a mental health professional who will then further evaluate the child’s mental health and discuss the treatment and needs. We help parents or caregivers gather information about the different treatment options, services and supports available. The type of treatment the child receives depends on the severity of the condition, the individual needs of the child and the type of insurance. We at SUNSHINE PEDIATRICS provide parents with various options that they can go to seek access to services like the local community, therapists’ office, school or other organizations.

4. Promoting Mental Health Wellness

Our team at Sunshine Pediatrics offer a personalized support for children and teenagers suffering from mental health issues to help them cope with stress, to communicate better and make them realize their strong sense of purpose. Early intervention and promoting mental well being in children have a positive impact on their development and considerably reduces their mental illness by incorporating positivity, reducing risk factors and overcoming emotional and behavioral problems through socio-emotional learning and ecological interventions.

5. Educating Caregivers on Recognizing Signs of Distress

Parents play an important role in supporting their child’s treatment journey. We help educate parents and caregivers to help identify if their child is silently going through a mental health crisis by educating them about the illness and to look out for signs of distress like isolation, self-harm, weight loss, poor performance at school, having outbursts, talking about death, changes in eating habits and so on. Since parents affect their child’s mental health, hence it is important for them to be educated about the illness, encouraged to have family counselling, taught to handle outbursts at home, praise their child’s strengths, enroll in parent training programs to deal with their child’s mental illness.

6. Integrating Mental Health Professionals into Pediatric Care

We recognize that with behavioral health integration our patients benefit considerably. Integration of the child’s pediatrician, social workers and behavioral experts provides the right guidance and support for an effective and coordinated care, high treatment success rates, better outcomes and increased patient and parent satisfaction.

Sunshine Pediatrics

Should concerns about your child’s mental well being arise, seek guidance from our well qualified healthcare providers at SUNSHINE PEDIATRICS at Westfield, IN. There are very effective treatments out there that can help enhance your child’s wellness, our pediatricians have an increasing sense of responsibility to promote healthy socio-emotional development of your child and to prevent and address their mental well-being.  Call us today at (317) 207-0140 to book an appointment.
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