Once we receive a referral from your child’s primary care physician, our team will review it to ensure that our clinic can provide the kind of care your child needs. If so, our office staff will contact you with instructions about completing a background form. The information you provide on this form will help us understand your child’s medical history and your concerns about his or her mental health. Once you have submitted the background form, which is available online, we will contact you to schedule an appointment.
preparing for your visit
You may be concerned that your child will become upset when told of an upcoming visit with a psychiatrist. Although this is sometimes the case, it's essential to be honest about the session and why your child (or family) will be going. The issue will come up during the session, but it's important for you to prepare your child for it.
Explain to young kids that this type of visit to the doctor doesn't involve a physical exam or shots. You may also want to stress that this type of doctor talks and plays with kids and meets with families to help them solve problems and feel better. Kids might feel reassured to learn that the psychiatrist will be helping the parents and other family members too.
Older kids and teens may be reassured to hear that anything they say to the psychiatrist is confidential and cannot be shared with anyone else, including parents or other doctors, without their permission — the exceptions are if they indicate that they're having thoughts of suicide or otherwise hurting themselves or others or if anyone is abusing them.
Giving kids this kind of information before the first appointment can help set the tone, prevent your child from feeling singled out or isolated, and provide reassurance that the family will be working together on the problem.
In addition to talking to your child before your visit, we also recommend the following to ensure a successful visit:
- Our waiting rooms are kid friendly. However, if you are bringing other children with you besides the patient, please bring another adult to help. This will allow you to join your child and the psychiatrist during parts of the session without having to worry about your other children.
- If your child has a favorite stuffed animal, blanket or toy that makes them comfortable, consider bringing it with you. This may help them feel more at ease when meeting with the psychiatrist.
- Please arrive on time to ensure a timely visit.
- Allow your child to ask questions about the visit if they have them. Reassure them that the visit is to help the child and the family.
your child’s first appointment
During your child’s first appointment, you and your child will spend about 60 minutes with one of our psychiatrists. This gives the psychiatrist time to perform a complete evaluation, discuss your child’s mental health history and develop a treatment plan.
Our nurse will also meet with you and your child to take base vitals including height, weight and blood pressure.
During your first visit, you may meet with our medical social worker, who can talk to you about community resources available to help you and your child. These resources can include mental health counseling centers, support groups, other programs within Dayton Children’s, educational testing services and many more.
Part of your child’s treatment plan will include follow-up appointments in our clinic or with your primary care physician to monitor how well the medication is working and whether adjustments need to be made. In most cases, the care our clinic provides should be part of a treatment plan that also includes additional counseling for your child. If needed, we can help you find a trained counselor, whether a psychologist, social worker, mental health nurse practitioner or other professional.
Our staff is always available to answer questions and provide assistance. During our business hours of 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, please call 937-641-4040. After hours, established patients should dial 937-641-3000 to reach the hospital’s operator, and ask for the pediatric psychiatrist on call if there is a mental health emergency.