When teens face a mental health crisis or psychiatric emergency, especially if it involves out-of-control behavior or the possibility of hurting themselves or others, immediate intervention is required.
Unfortunately, in today’s health care environment, parents often struggle to find the right kind of help, especially under the immense pressure that crises can invoke. The type of intervention you need depends in large part on your child’s symptoms.
Rage, threats of suicide or manic behavior may require a hospital stay for stabilization.
In less dire situations, as most are, the choices for crisis treatment include outpatient counseling or therapy, psychiatric hospitals and private residential treatment facilities.
Child and Adolescent Counselors and Psychiatrists
Although the situation with your child may have been building for some time, a crisis never strikes when it’s convenient.
If your teen has seen a counselor, therapist or psychiatric practitioner in the past, their office may offer an emergency number for after-hours use. Most counselors can recommend crisis intervention services; however, it’s rare for them to see patients outside of normal office hours.
If you daughter has not already seen a therapist, you may face a long wait to get an appointment. Most child and adolescent treatment professionals have a backlog of new patients waiting to see them.
In some cases, you may wait up to three months to schedule your first appointment, which won’t help if your child requires immediate intervention.
Public and Private Behavioral Health Crisis Services
In your community (or one nearby), it’s likely that a local hospital offers treatment for behavioral health crisis. Unfortunately, these facilities often leave much to be desired.
Public psychiatric hospitals are typically associated with your county’s health department. Private facilities, although significantly more expensive than public hospitals, may provide a better level of care and less exposure to disturbing conditions.
Hospitals focus on stabilizing the situation, so it’s unlikely your child will be kept for more than 72 hours.
Private Residential Treatment Facilities for Teens
Although many parents aren’t familiar with private residential treatment facilities, these are often a highly responsive and preferable alternative.
Local hospitals and counselors can provide necessary treatment when crisis strikes. However, if your daughter has reached a dangerous point at which a highly responsive and intensive level of intervention has become necessary, a residential facility better provides the help she and your family needs.
While a hospital or psychiatric facility will stabilize your child, the typical approach involves prescribing medication and sending the teen back home, which provides no long-term solution. Psychiatrists and counselors can help as well, but the process is long and drawn out.
A residential treatment facility, especially one that specializes in working with adolescents and teens, can provide a full intervention contingent as well as treatment and care. This approach focuses not only on stabilization, but on helping your child overcome her problems once and for all.
Havenwood Academy is just such a facility, serving the needs of girls ages 12 to 17. Our programs are designed to meet the needs of the individual, with a focus on family and healing. We help girls and young women overcome emotional and behavioral problems in an environment where true change can come about.
Contact us today if you believe that your daughter or another young woman in your care is experiencing a mental health crisis.