Resources for Concerned Parents

FREE MENTAL HEALTH SCREENINGS FOR YOUTH

Concerned parents may contact the Mental Health Association Oklahoma to make arrangements for their child to take the Columbia TeenScreen, a voluntary screening program designed to assess the physical and mental well-being of adolescents. The program uses a computerized questionnaire and interview process to determine if a youth may be at risk for depression, suicide or other mental health problems. To obtain a complete evaluation, parents of youth found to be at possible risk are notified and offered resources and help connecting to local services. Treatment decisions, if any, are always left to parents and guardians. To make arrangements for your child to take this free screening, call 918.585.1213.

RESOURCES FOR PARENTS AND TEENS

The following resources from the National Institute of Mental Health are available for download and address frequently asked questions about depression and suicide, as well as can help you respond and navigate age appropriate conversations with children and young adults.

The Association’s Mental Health Assistance Center is available to help you identify resources. Please call 918.585.1213. This free assistance line is monitored 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) offered these helpful tips appropriate for both students and parents.

As a parent, a teacher, or even a close friend, there are signs to watch for and proactive steps you can take to help ensure the good mental health of our young people. The key is to identify potential problems early and seek help if needed, before things escalate into something more serious.

Be observant. Watch for changes in behavior like withdrawal, poor hygiene and loss of interest in activities that are normally enjoyed. If a child is acting out, there is usually a reason.

Know your child’s friends. If the children your child is hanging out with suddenly change, it’s important to know why and keep an eye out for changes in attitude, appearance and behavior like alcohol or substance abuse.

Ask the tough questions. Don’t be afraid to get dialog going about emotions, behaviors and activities.

Don’t be judgmental. Encourage your children to come to you when they have a problem.

Put yourself in your child’s place. An adult perspective isn’t always the best way to view the situation. What may seem silly or inconsequential to you can be a big deal to your child or adolescent.

Quality time is important. Kids today are under a lot of pressure to succeed in school, perform in sports, and often carry heavy family responsibilities, too. Encourage your children to think creatively, relax with friends and spend quality time with family.

Life-changing events can have a dramatic impact. Moving to a new school or city, divorce, death or a tragic event,can be very unsettling. Keep the channels of communication open.

Seek help if needed. In addition to mental health professionals, school counselors, clergy and community resources are available, even if you don’t have insurance.