Please note, the following definitions are from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists
Licensed medical doctors with specialized training in the mental health of children and adolescents. They can diagnose mental health conditions, offer counseling, provide therapy, and prescribe and monitor medications.
Psychiatric or Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (APRNs)
Registered nurses with post-graduate education in mental health. Like psychiatrists, they can diagnose mental health conditions, offer counseling, provide therapy, and prescribe and monitor medications. In some states they are required to work under the supervision of a psychiatrist.
Trained to make diagnoses and offer psychotherapy to individuals, families and groups. Some may have training in specific forms of evidence-based therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Many are trained to conduct tests, such as personality tests (one aspect of a psychological evaluations), to help understand a child’s patterns of behaviors, thoughts, and feelings.
Trained to make diagnoses, provide individual and group therapy and work with parents, teachers and school staff to ensure a healthy school environment. They may also participate in the development of individualized education plans (IEP) to help a child with a mental health condition achieve academic and social/emotional goals within the school environment. Although a school psychologist can be a valuable resource, student(s) may benefit from having a mental health professional outside of the school environment provide treatment. Student(s) may feel more comfortable discussing their feelings, behaviors, etc. when they are not in an academic setting with their peers.
Trained to make diagnoses and provide individual and group counseling, case management and advocacy. Some specialize in marriage and family issues, in social work, or in counseling. Many have training in specific forms of therapy like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Dialectical Behavior Therapy, along with other behavioral therapy interventions.
Self-help and Support Groups
Can help address feelings of isolation and help people gain insight into their or their child’s mental health condition. Members of support groups may share frustrations, successes, referrals for specialists, where to find the best community resources and tips on what works best when trying to recover.
NOTE: Parent support groups can be led by peers or professionals.