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19 S. Cameron Street, Winchester VA

Mental Health Assessment

Are you thinking about seeking the help of a therapist for your child or teenager?  An adolescent mental health assessment is when a health professional tries to understand how your child’s mental health is affecting their quality of life. If you think your child has mental health concerns, assessment is one step towards getting help and treatment if needed. An assessment is just a fancy word for consultation or appointment. These appointments are designed to find out what your child’s mental health issues are. The assessment you get from us can be used with your school to obtain an IEP or 504.

If you are concerned about the school year moving too quickly and not being able to get an assessment quickly, we have about a 2 week turn-around time from the time of your initial appointment until you receive your assessment, in writing, from us. We work with teachers, physicians, and your entire family to build your support team, we are dedicated to supporting you and your child through your journey.


It’s not always easy to tell the difference between normal teenage worry or moodiness and more serious mental health issues. Most normal teenage irritability, arguing and moodiness comes and goes quickly. But when these feelings go on for 2-3 weeks or are very intense for shorter periods, it can be a sign that it’s more than just worry or feeling down.


Signs you may want to set an appointment for a Mental Health Assessment:


  • Don’t want to see friends
  • If your child behaviors are different or worrisome (including suicide thoughts, attempts or statements)
  • Isolating themselves
  • If your child stops doing things, they usually enjoy
  • They do not seem to be enjoying the things they are doing
  • They are not doing so well at school
  • Body image issues
  • Increase in risk-taking behaviors
  • Mood swings
  • Angry
  • Low self-esteem
  • Defiant

These are signs that they may be feeling very anxious, depressed or stressed.


A Mental Health Assessment is just a well-child check, just like going to the doctor for your annual physical. There is no shame in seeing a therapist for a Mental Health Assessment.


How to prepare your child for a Mental Health Assessment:


  • Being honest when talking to your child about the concerns you have for their wellbeing
  • Explain that the aim of the mental health assessment is to help both you and your child understand how and why their feelings and/or behavior has changed lately
  • Reassure your child that there’s nothing wrong with visiting a mental health professional
  • Reassure your child that what they tell the therapist/counselor will be private and confidential
  • Let them know that you are not going to trick them into going to appointments
  • Talk about what they can expect to get out of going
  • Tell your child that you are happy to go with them and that you’ll respect their privacy
  • During the assessment, we focus not only on what has brought you into our office but also the things that are going well for you- supportive family and friends, talents, passions. These things play a big part in you feeling better.
  • Toward the end of the assessment, or even at the start of your second session, you and your pediatric therapist will start to come up with a few goals. These are the things you and your family would like to focus on in counseling. Try visualizing at the end of effective treatment: How will you feel? What will have changed?


For younger children 5-10 years, explain to them they are going to play with someone new and learn some new things with them. Keep it simple.


A Mental Health Assessment is meant to assist you, your child and their school in helping to identify what treatment plan to help your child with to get them on the right path. Since we are counselors, we assess your child by speaking with them and observing them in our offices, typically this will take 1 session, this gives us the ability to help get you on the path to helping your child quickly. At Cameron Pediatric Counseling, we have appointments set aside for emergency assessments and we have some flexibly in our everyday schedule to get you in as soon as possible for non-emergency situations.


At CPC, we have made a clinical decision to serve children. Keep in mind that you get to choose your treatment team, we are here to support your efforts to help your child. Because we have chosen to make this decision, we make sure we have spots reserved for emergency and crisis situations, we do this to help the children and champion parents to come to see us and know we will be available to help. All of the staff here at CPC is full-time, this allows our clients access to us day in and day out for treatment and assessments. We make sure your children and teens are comfortable, we will not make this a traumatic experience for them. We do not have to rehash things that make them uncomfortable, we do not find this to be necessary to be able to make a complete diagnosis and make our recommendations.



Cameron Pediatric Counseling, Inc.


19 S. Cameron Street, Winchester VA

© 2019 Cameron Pediatric Counseling, Inc. | All Rights Reserved