Mental Illness in Children: How New York Methodist Can Help

Jul 30, 2009

Identifying mental disorders in youngsters can be tricky for health care providers; children differ from adults in that they experience many physical, mental and emotional changes as they progress through their natural growth and development. But treating mental illness in children is vital, said Jessy Colah, M.D., chief of psychiatry at New York Methodist Hospital. We see many adults whose mental illness originated in childhood and wasn't treated; this robbed them of years of optimum health.

The good news for parents (and children) is that effective treatment is available for children's psychiatric disorders. Among the most common illnesses are attention deficit hyperactive disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders and tic disorders.

New York Methodist Hospitals pediatric mental health services bring together the best of contemporary biological psychiatry and the most effective psychotherapy strategies. Child psychiatrists today use a combination of treatments, which can sometimes involve medication and almost always include some type of behavioral therapy.

Diagnosing the illness is the first step. As with adults, mental illnesses in children are diagnosed based on signs and symptoms that suggest a particular disorder. Child psychiatrists typically spend a great deal of time with each patient. I first meet with the parents alone for an hour, said Yvonne Roque, M.D., a child psychiatrist who recently joined NYMs division of psychiatry. Dr. Roque also spends an hour alone with the child before developing a plan of treatment.

When treated appropriately and early, many children can fully recover from mental illness or successfully control symptoms. For more information NYMs child psychiatry services, please call 718 780-3771.