Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day: Parent Resources

May 4, 2017

By and

Posted in: Grade School, Hot Topics, Pre-School, Teenagers, You & Your Family, Young Adults

Topics: Mental Illness + Psychiatric Disorders

The internet provides a seemingly endless amount of information about almost any topic you could imagine. Parents are as likely to turn to the internet as they are to well-worn “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” books. The key difference between any book and the internet, though, is that all books go through a formal review process, whereas content on the internet does not. Anyone can post just about anything on the internet, and when it comes to important matters such as your child’s mental health and development, you want to be sure that the advice you’re receiving is credible and accurate. If you’re feeling stressed about your child’s emotional well-being—and willing to try anything to make things better—you may find yourself at the mercy of whatever your particular search engine deems popular. That’s not always a good thing.

The Clay Center’s website is one of many sources of information on child and adolescent mental health that is freely available to parents online. Some sites provide information on general health and development, while others provide more targeted information on a specific mental health concern or disorder.

It can be nearly impossible to keep up with the ever-growing list of websites devoted to parenting and mental health issues; therefore, we’ve identified several online resources that we have personally found helpful in our clinical work. We hope you find these resources helpful, but also wish to stress the importance of seeking a professional consultation with your child’s pediatrician and/or a child mental health professional such as a clinical child psychologist, pediatric neuropsychologist, or child psychiatrist.

General Resources (listed alphabetically)

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide parents with information on child and adolescent development, as well as positive parenting tips and guidance around issues of health and safety across various developmental stages. Content is also available in Spanish.
  • Developed by the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, this website provides the public (and professionals) information on the mental health treatments with the strongest scientific support—and therefore, presumably, the most likely to work. In addition, the homepage includes a tool to help parents locate a child therapist (right side of the page, “How to Find a Child Therapist”).
  • This website was developed as a collaborative effort between seven divisions within the American Psychological Association (APA) to serve as an online resource center focused around healthy development. Information is provided across four broad, overlapping developmental domains: body, mind, emotions, and relationships. Given the sheer number of websites targeted toward children, adolescents, and families, it can be difficult as a parent to discern which to turn to for reliable information. This website holds a high standard, and provides links only to information that is supported by rigorous research.
  • The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) website includes information and links to additional resources on many topics and conditions relevant to child and adolescent development, including autism spectrum disorder, traumatic brain injury, and learning disabilities. Just navigate to the “A to Z Health & Human Development Topics” section (linked in multiple places on the NICHD homepage, including an “A-Z Topics” link in the upper right corner).
  • The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) provides information like signs and symptoms, risk factors, and available treatments for a variety of psychiatric disorders. Links to information for several mental health conditions are provided on the NIMH homepage.

Anxiety

  • This website was created by Dr. Tamar Chansky, a recognized expert in child anxiety, with the goal of providing parents, educators, and mental health professionals with comprehensive, user-friendly information on the full range of anxiety disorders. The website includes information regarding how to identify anxiety symptoms (or “red flags”) as well as how to find effective treatments.

Anxiety and Depression

  • The website of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) includes members such as clinicians and researchers who treat and study anxiety and depressive disorders, as well as individuals with anxiety and/or depression and their families. The website offers information on anxiety and depression, self-help tools, support groups, clinical trials, and professional development.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Autism (listed alphabetically)

  • Founded in 2005 by the grandparents of a child with autism, Autism Speaks engages in fundraising and advocacy for autism spectrum disorder, and also works to raise awareness of the disorder and its manifestations.
  • The website of the Autism Society of America provides information about autism spectrum disorder, including resources, research, and local chapters. Content is also available in Spanish.

Depression and Bipolar Disorder

  • This website is operated by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. It provides information about mood disorders, as well as information about local support groups and chapters.

Learning Disabilities

  • This website provides a wealth of information for parents regarding learning and attention difficulties such as dyslexia and ADHD. A major goal of the site is to empower parents and help them understand and relate to their children’s issues—and, therefore, make effective choices that promote their children’s development. Content is also available in Spanish.

Substance Use

  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) website provides information for students and young adults, parents and teachers, and researchers and health professionals about how to prevent and treat addictions (look for the “Patients & Families,” “Parents & Educators,” and “Children & Teens” links at the top of the homepage). Content is also available in Spanish.

– Originally published 5 May 2016

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Ellen Braaten

Ellen Braaten, Co-Director

Ellen Braaten, Ph.D. is co-director of The MGH Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds, and director of the Learning and Emotional Assessment Program (LEAP) at Massachusetts General Hospi...

To learn more about Ellen, or to contact her directly, please see Our Team.

Nathan Cook, Ph.D.

Nathan Cook, Ph.D.

Nathan Cook, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral fellow (clinical and research) at the Learning and Emotional Assessment Program (LEAP) at Massachusetts General Hospital, a postdoctoral research fellow at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children Sports Con...

To read full bio click here.