This is Where You Start When You Think Your Child May Need a Therapist
Realizing that your child may need help can be overwhelming.
You might be wondering: does my child really need counseling? What are the signs? Don’t most kids have struggles? I mean, being a kid these days can be really rough.
Thankfully, the Champaign-Urbana area has significant resources for children who may need a counselor or therapist.
Knowing where to turn is half the battle – and start as soon as you can, as sometimes the process can take longer than you might imagine.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, ADHD, behavior problems, anxiety, and depression are the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders in children. And the rate of children experiencing depression and anxiety has increased in the last two decades; children aged 6–17 years who have been diagnosed with either anxiety or depression increased from 5.4% in 2003 to 8% in 2007 and to 8.4% in 2011–2012. Who knows what that will be in 2020.
Does it matter who provides my child counseling?
Here are some tips on finding the right match. And if at first you “fail” – try, try again. Sometimes it takes a few options to find the right fit for your child.
- Consult your pediatrician first. Many pediatricians will let you make a parent appointment to see the pediatrician without your child, if that is an easier way to have the discussion. The pediatrician can listen to your concerns in the context of your child’s overall development, and can often help you focus on finding the “right” kind of counseling help.
- This might seem obvious, but sometimes it’s not; look for a provider who specializes in working with children. Many counselors will see children, but might have a better connection with a certain age group; ask if the counselors has a preference in ages.
- If your child has a specific diagnosis, such as ADHD, OCD, ODD, autism, anxiety/depression, or has experienced a specific trauma such as (verbal or physical); substance abuse/addiction; family separation (and others) – you may want to find a counselor who has more specialized training and experience in that area.
- Most parents prefer to meet with counselor first, especially for younger children. Go with your gut. And remember, not every counselor is the right fit for every child; even children in the same family.
Counseling Options if You Have Health Insurance for Mental Health
If you have health insurance and aren’t sure of your benefits or resources, call the health insurance company and/or explore its online resources. The health insurance provider should be able to tell you what your plan covers when it comes to mental health, and which health care providers participate in your plan. That will be critical for determining what resources below are applicable to your family.
(The current pandemic has escalated the needs for mental health resources for families. Some of these resources may be limited during this time, however, many providers are offering telehealth options.)
Child therapist and counseling options in the Champaign-Urbana area. These therapists and counselors have been recommended by local parents. We provide this resource as a community service.
- Carle Behavioral Health: Multiple options. Most providers are located in Champaign (Mattis location). Call
- Child and Family Counseling of Champaign. Call 224-232-8057..
- Two Roads Wellness Clinic, Champaign and Danville. Call (217) 531-4101
- Psychology Specialists, Champaign (also has other locations in Central Illinois). Call 217-693-6072.
- Kurtz Counseling in Mahomet. Call (217) 615-5243.
- The Rock Counseling Group offers play therapy for children at its Champaign and Mahomet locations. Call (217) 722-9079
- Hope Springs Counseling, Champaign. Call (217) 531-2360.
- Keri Powell Therapy, Champaign, Savoy, Mahomet locations. (217) 352-0200
More specific resources:
- Gateway Family Services offers equine therapy resources.
- Rape Advocacy, Counseling, & Education Services (RACES) provides free, confidential, and unlimited counseling sessions available for children 3 and older for both victims/survivors. (for those in Champaign, Douglas, Ford, and Piatt counties). Call (217) 344-6298
Counseling Options if You DO NOT Have Insurance for Mental Health Services
There are many resources available in Champaign County for families who do not have insurance, or are on Medicaid. Some of these offer sliding scale fees for those who qualify. Champaign-Urbana Public Health District has compiled a list of resources that can help adolescents and children in the Champaign-Urbana area find affordable mental health services.
- If you are an employee at the University of Illinois, see if you are eligible for the Family and Staff Assistance Program. This is a free program available to those who qualify. This is a short-term solution.
- Rosecrance offers outpatient mental health services for young adults and children; accepts Medicaid.
- Hope Springs Counseling Services offers counseling expertise to youth and families in our community who are experiencing difficult life situations. Medicaid accepted.
- Center for Youth and Family Solutions has mental health services available to young adults. No one is denied needed services if they cannot pay for them. The waiting list for new clients is about one month long. Known for expertise in dealing with complex family situations and for providing access for families who would not otherwise be able to use professional counseling services. Medicaid Accepted.
- Family Services has mental health services available to children and adolescents. A sliding scale fee based on income and family size for Champaign County residents is available if needed.
Of course, not all kids who could benefit from seeing a therapist receive a specific diagnosis.
If you’re wondering if your child needs a therapist, consider this list via the Cleveland Clinic, as to when parents should be concerned. Of course, some of these situations are much more concerning than others, and should be addressed sooner than later.
- Has problems in multiple areas of life, such as family relationships, academic performance, leisure activities and friendships.
- Starts feeling bad about himself or herself, less confident or less effective.
- Shows excessive worry about the future.
- Expresses hopelessness.
- Withdraws from family, friends or activities he or she used to enjoy.
- Has a significant change in sleep habits or appetite.
- Engages in negative behavior more frequently.
- Has repetitive, self-destructive behaviors such as hair-pulling or skin-picking.
- Talks about or engages in any kind of self-harm.
- Makes comments like “I wish I weren’t here,” or “Nobody would care if I ran away.”
- Talks explicitly about suicide.
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