The return to school and in-person learning is likely to bring up a variety of emotions for children and families. Here are some resources for supporting children’s mental health as back-to-school season arrives.

Coping and anxious kids

Resources for families:

 

Address poor sleep

Ask if patients are getting good sleep. If not, suggest resources or consider a referral to our newly expanded Sleep Center. We are now available to see patients with common, less acute sleep disorders in addition to medically complex children who have been the traditional patient base of the Sleep Center. Patients with mental health issues who seek treatment for their sleep disorders often see improvements in their mental and physical health as a result of improved sleep. Sleep Center referral information.  

Take action to prevent suicide

September is Suicide Prevention Month. Suicide is a complex issue, and there is no single cause. But there are steps all of us can take to help prevent suicide. Reducing access to firearms and medications at home could help save thousands of lives for people experiencing suicidality. Encourage families to limit access to these by practicing safe firearm storage and safe medicine storage and disposal.

 

Encourage parents and caregivers to join our Youth Mental Health First Aid class

This free, two-part, eight-hour class is offered virtually and is for the general public, including parents and caregivers, who regularly interact with adolescents ages 12 to 18. Participants learn about common mental health challenges for youth, risk factors and warning signs for mental illness, how to help young people in both crisis and noncrisis situations and much more. Learn more.

Encourage kids and families to use Washington’s Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens  

Access to this free referral service has improved with a recent injection of funding and additional staff this summer. Families are able to speak with a program coordinator right away or get a return call within a day to schedule their call with a referral specialist. The current wait time for a call with a referral specialist is two weeks, after which families will receive a list within several weeks of available, qualified counselors in their community who take their insurance. Please encourage families to call the referral service if they need assistance finding a mental health counselor for their child.

Thank you for all you do to care for the mental well-being of children and teens during this especially difficult time.