Emotional / Mental Health

Emotional / Mental Health

As children pass through childhood and adolescence they may experience a few bumps along the way. Sometimes children experience feelings or display behaviors that cause problems in their lives and the lives of those around them. If your child or teenager has difficulty coping with things, feels depressed, can't sleep, shows signs of an eating disorder, gets involved with drugs and / or alcohol, can't get along with family or friends, or is experiencing any other emotional problems, the providers at Advanced Pediatrics would like to help.

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Where to Begin?

If you are concerned about your child's emotional or mental health, please call our Patient Care Line at 303-699-6200 (Option 2) and speak with one of our registered nurses. Our registered nurses will ask you a number of questions regarding the issues your child is facing and make a recommendation for the best type of appointment for your child. In most cases, our nurses will schedule an "Initial Behavioral Assessment" with one of our providers.

Urgent Issues

If you are concerned the emotional issues your child or teen is facing are severe enough to risk suicide or injury to self or others, please seek immediate medical attention at an emergency facility (we recommend Children's Hospital Colorado when possible) or call 911.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide or experiencing an emotional crisis, you may call 800-273-TALK (8255), or 866-4-U-Trevor (866-488-7386), or Text 741741.  For more information on suicide prevention, see resources in the pull down menu below:

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What is an Initial Behavioral Assessment?

The "Initial Behavioral Assessment" appointment is a first visit to discuss the issue(s) that concern you about your child or teen. Before this visit you will be asked to fill out a one-page questionnaire to give us some basic information about your concerns. During the visit your provider will review this information with you to help determine if these concerns are everyday challenges, a passing phase, or a more serious issue. A recommendation will then be made to either treat your child within our practice, or refer him or her to an appropriate mental health provider that can provide further assessment, counseling and treatment.

If your child or teen has been scheduled an "Initial Behavioral Assessment Visit" with one of our providers, please download and print the following and bring the completed questionnaire to your visit.

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Issues We May Treat

Our mental health task force committee regularly reviews the latest developments in treating pediatric emotional and mental health issues within the primary care setting and establishes protocols for our providers to follow so that care is consistent. Depending on the severity of the situation and how well a patient responds to treatment, our providers normally treat the following emotional / mental health and behavior issues within our practice:

  • Behavioral and Adjustment Issues
  • Simple Depression
  • Mild Anxiety Disorders

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Referrals to Specialists

Some mental health issues are beyond the scope of general pediatrics and are best treated by a specialist. We normally work in conjunction with mental health specialists for more complicated issues such as:

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders (Pervasive Developmental Disorders)
  • Bipolar Disorder, Manic Depressive Illness
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Eating Disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse

If we do refer your child to a mental health specialist, our providers can provide your family with a list of mental health providers in our area. For help in finding one who accepts your insurance, please see:

Ongoing communication between mental health specialists and your child's primary care providers at Advanced Pediatrics is very important to your child's long term health and well-being. If your child has been referred to a mental health specialist, or is currently seeing a mental health specialist, please complete the following form and give to your child's mental health specialist, so that he or she may share important medical information with our providers:

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Advanced Pediatrics Diagnostic Questionnaires / Forms

If you have been asked by one of our nurses or providers to fill out one of the following diagnostic forms, please download - print - and then return the completed form to our office according to the instructions given by the nurse or provider.

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Treatment for Anxiety & Depression

Treatment options for anxiety and depression include various forms of psychotherapy (counseling), medication, and a combination of counseling with medication.  There is good evidence that psychotherapy without medication can be an effective treatment.  Counseling is always the first form of treatment recommended by Advanced Pediatrics.  Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is the most studied form of therapy with depressed and anxious adolescents.  

For severe or ongoing anxiety or depression, the combination of CBT and medication is the fastest and most effective approach. We understand that the decision to start depression and/or anxiety medications is an important one. Many parents have questions about how these medications work, how they might affect their child, and what side effects the medication may have.  Learn more about medications for anxiety and depression in the links below:

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Recommended Websites

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Recommended Reading

General Emotional / Mental Health
Anger / Opposition
Mood Disorders

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