Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Start Mental Health Assessments & Counseling at an Early AGE!!

Posted at   7:36 AM  |  in  


It was great to hear African Americans on the radio station, entitled the Breakfast Club speaking about their mental health counselors and how it is important for them to go weekly. Not because they have serious mental health issues, because it's beneficial for them overall in life. You may wonder why it was great to hear? Because this is not the norm for people of color, especially those who are in low and middle class income status. According to research, white Americans are more opened to therapy and willing to process their feelings with a stranger (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. National Survey on Drug Use and Health. 2008-2018). However, among all racial/ethnic groups, except American Indian/Alaska Native, women are much more likely to receive mental health services than men (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). This information can help us understand why majority of killings done in the USA were done by men. Plus, White Americans are more likely to die by suicide than people of other ethnic/racial groups, especially the males.  People dying due to drug overdose is also unimaginable, but more than 72000 Americans died in 2018.

Research also shows that there are more youth who honestly don't know what they want to do when they graduated from high school. There are many students who can't manage their stress when they leave home for college, because they never learned healthy coping skills/interventions. They don't think about speaking with a counselor when they may feel overwhelmed, because most never knew that was even an option. So you can clearly see mental health assessments and counseling needs to start at an early age or the same time medical exams are introduced. Young adults are aware to go to a doctor if they are hurting physically, but don't seek help when they are not feeling well mentally. Similar to their parents.



Things you need to know if you decide to get a mental health assessment for your child.

Pediatricians are not mental health providers, it is not recommended that you put all your trust in your pediatricians concerning your children mental health needs. According to Psychological Today, many of them are not comfortable screening toddlers for autism, starting medications for conditions such as ADHD or depression, or dispensing parental advice to manage children who are oppositional defiant, given the lack of specific training most of them receive in medical school and residency. Many will do it because they want to get compensated or like the challenge, but most of them have little training. Don't become frustrated or thank your pediatricians when they refer you out for these types of services, because what they are doing is ethically correct and may save you and your child a lot of time in discovering the best interventions for your child mental and emotional needs.

There is a difference between a psychiatrist and psychologist. To help you remember the difference, think of the psychiatrist as the people who manage a patient's medical issues as they participate through mental health counseling. Many of them also refer their clients out for mental health therapy, but will quickly provide you with class of medications such as.
  • Antidepressants – used to treat depression, panic disorder, PTSD, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder and eating disorders.
  • Antipsychotic medications – used to treat psychotic symptoms (delusions and hallucinations), schizophrenia, bipolar disorder.
  • Sedatives and anxiolytics – used to treat anxiety and insomnia.
  • Hypnotics – used to induce and maintain sleep.
  • Mood stabilizers – used to treat bipolar disorder.
  • Stimulants – used to treat ADHD.
When looking for a psychiatrist for your child/youth make sure this person is certified in child and adolescent psychiatry and not just forensic (legal) psychiatry or pain medication.


The psychologist are known to do testing or will be the person I will recommend to start with for mental health assessments. Yes all professionals that have been mentioned can give you a diagnoses and in different states licensed professional counselors and clinical social workers can also provide you with a mental health diagnoses. However, there are more psychologists who specializes in psychological testing and evaluation. Many of them also can provide you with mental health counseling, but a lot of them usually refer you out to mental health licensed professional counselors or clinical social workers. Psychologists do not manage your medications only psychiatrists.

A psychiatric nurse practitioners on the other hand can prescribe you with medication, like a psychiatrists. According to the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, this role is “an advanced nursing role requiring extensive education in development, physical and mental health assessment, the diagnosis of mental health conditions, integration and implementation of care, psychopharmacology, psychotherapy, practice evaluation, consultation, and liaison.” Nurse practitioners in this specialty earn a master’s or doctoral degrees in psychiatric-mental health nursing.

Licensed mental health counselors focus mainly on providing mental health counseling for those with depression, panic disorder, PTSD, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, family, marriage, substance abuse, trauma, case management or even insomnia. They do not manage medications like a psychiatrists or psychiatric nurse practitioners. In some states they are allowed to do mental health assessments in order to provide detailed diagnoses like a psychologists due to shortage. They earn a master's or doctoral degree in psychiatric-mental health counseling/leadership/education.

Clinical social workers are similar to licensed mental health counselors, but known to do more case management and great in finding resources for those in need compared to all mentioned. They earn a master's or doctoral degree in social worker.

After the mental health assessments what's next? 

Find the right provider for your youth's counseling needs after the assessment is completed. Any profession listed above can assist your child, but make sure they specializes in what you are looking for, regardless of their degrees. The person that does the testing (psychologist) maybe or may not be the right person for your youth's therapy needs. The cost is also usually less to speak with a licensed mental health therapist or clinical social worker compared to a psychologist.  Don't force anyone on your child, have them see a few and you all decide together. Encouraging your child to speak with a counselor at least 1x a month, every two weeks, or every week - this will show them how to seek help when they become older for their emotional needs. As parents it's not your job to have all the answers, but do what's needed to show your youth how to get what they need to thrive in all areas of their lives. So when seeking a counselor, make sure it's someone your child feels comfortable around, don't assume they will like her or him because you felt a great connection.

When do you introduce your child to a life coach?

Introduce your youth to life coaches the moment they tell you what they want to do with their lives. The sooner they are working towards their life goals the better.  Age 12 is usually the best age to start if your youth is focus and mature. Why wait when they graduate from high school? A life coach doesn't have to be a mental health therapist or someone with many degrees unless your youth's goal is to become a doctor, teacher, or any role that needs a college degree. Try to match your child with life coaches who know what they are talking about, evidence of success, know how to accomplish goals, honestly want your child to thrive, and willing to encourage your child to move forward with your assistance. This person needs to have  great life skills, character that matches with your values, and understand what to do in order to thrive in their profession. Life coaches tend to have more work experiences than education, so don't reject a person as a life coach if he/she doesn't have many degrees. Especially, if you are looking for a person to help your child with becoming an actor, singer, hair stylist, writer, or work on cars/airplanes.

Parents show your child how to thrive emotionally and mentally by introducing them to mental health providers at an early age. Especially if you want them to learn the tools when they experience emotional valleys, stressful situations, and/or painful experience they have no control over when they become older. Why teach them how to make money, encourage them to go to college, become a celebrity, doctor, have babies, successful business owner, or clean a house if you have not provided them with the emotional tools to manage the stress that comes along with those goals or successes? Do all you can to provide your child with what they need in order to cope, starting at an early age. Don't let them fall through the cracks emotionally...





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About Inward Core, THE FIX Dr. Nancia Leath, MAC LPC NCC CPCS

Inward Core, THE FIX is a self-improvement site for all. The owner is Dr. Nancia Leath, MAC LPC NCC CPCS. She is a devoted wife to Boris, caring mom to Gracelyn, Brooke, and Titus, and sweet friend to many. She help others by being a Licensed Professional Mental Health Therapist, National Certified Counselor, Master Addiction Counselor, Author of two books: Feed Your Faith and Crush Your Doubts, Emancipate In Your Chair, Professional and Motivational Speaker, Life Coach and Licensed Minister. She enjoys spending time with her husband, three children, and two dogs. She have a blast when she does trainings, motivating others to thrive, encouraging youth to be strong leaders in their communities (Teen Help Other People 501c3 - TeenHOP - www.teenhop.com), and helping all to live out their God given purposes. She also have fun doing interviews and being special guest on radio or television (just to name a few - HGTV, Steve Harvey, Sweet Retreats/Disney). You may even find one of her informative notes in successful companies' newsletters/magazines. Many use her services in order to experience life changing therapy, coaching services, and superb supervision to new therapists. You will never forget Nancia Leath after meeting her, many claims "she is a true inspiration." Contact Dr. Nancia Leath, MAC LPC NCC CPCS HERE.

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