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Raising Mentally Healthy Kids with Michelle Nietert

Jan 5, 2022

With so many young adults struggling with anxiety and depression as they return to school after the holidays, I wanted to release a bonus episode answering questions from author Melissa Spoelstra about parenting young adults who need to find a counselor. In this episode, we’ll discuss some practical aspects such as insurance coverage and the variety of mental health professionals available to help your child as well as offer you some tips on questions to ask prospective counselors, when it’s time to seek professional help, and how to encourage your child to get help without offending them.

Key points from our conversation:

🩺 If insurance is a deal-breaker, call your company and get the names of 10 Christian counselors that are in-network, then narrow them down by finding out who is taking new patients. Have your child do research online like reading bios and watching videos to see who they connect with best. Telehealth may be a good option if you’re in a rural area.

✝️ Therapists use different approaches when it comes to treatment. When interviewing prospective counselors, have your child ask if they are a Christian who does counseling or if they integrate faith into best counseling practices. Also, ask if they are a biblical counselor who doesn’t integrate psychology and if they are a directive or non-directive therapist.

🚨 If your young adult tends to change their mind about counseling, but chronic problems persist, encourage them to find a counselor as quickly as possible. Use the urgency to prevent a future emergency.

🗣️ If your child is resistant because they view counseling as a sign of weakness, normalize it. Since 2020, 40% of young adults 18-24 are experiencing diagnosable anxiety and depression. Practice empathic listening and try changing the verbiage from “you need counseling” to “you could benefit from counseling.”

😖 Panic attacks are immediate criteria for therapy because it means they’re at a place where their mind is not able to control the body in such a way that things happen that are out of control.

🥼 Seeing a therapist should be as normal as seeing a doctor. When in doubt, check it out.

🧠 You may not notice ADHD in your young adult before college because home life and school can provide a structure they can manage. Smarter kids can take even longer to diagnose because their intelligence compensates for their lack of executive management skills.

👂 When your young adult comes home and shares struggles, reassure them that you get it and they’re not alone. Engage them by asking how they would like to try to solve the problem. Offer to get them help, even if they get offended. If you’re the authority, you make the call even if they don’t want to. You know what’s best for them.

Resources mentioned:

Smart but Scattered by Peg Dawson

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