What can I try?

Adult Interventions

Advice for parents, teachers, counselors, and other adults.

Let the youth know that you notice their worry, fear, or anxiety, and that you want to help them feel better.

Find out more about the specific situations or possibilities that make them fearful or worried. Try not to minimize their fears and worries, even if it seems irrational to you.

Help identify things that help the youth calm, such as taking deep steady breaths, taking a break in a quiet place, keeping an item of comfort with them, or having a safe adult close by.

Encourage the youth to do normal activities even when anxious. Avoidance will be a relief in the moment, but will make anxiety worse overall.

Make a plan with the youth for how they will use their calming strategies and what help they might need.

Give lots of praise and reassurance.

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Who can help?

Get counseling or mental health treatment

There are several different ways to seek counseling or treatment. This includes a private therapist, a school counselor, mental health center services, and/or substance abuse treatment.

Private therapists can be a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC), or a psychologist. This is usually covered by insurance and occurs weekly or every other week. Most therapists will individualize treatment and may offer more frequent sessions if needed. Youth may also receive counseling at school. This may be in the form of a school counselor who is accessible to all youth. Find out from the teacher who the school counselor is and how you and/or the youth can set up a time with them. The school counselor can give you more information about services available in the school.

Youth in crisis may need more intensive support than outpatient therapy or school counseling. Mental health centers offer a variety of services: case management, in-home services, and individual and family therapy. Some mental health centers also offer medication management. 

If this process is overwhelming, you need help finding the right fit, or you cannot wait for the first available appointment, contact the Youth Crisis Diversion Project. A crisis facilitator will meet with you within 24 business hours and guide you through the process of selecting the right service for your needs. You may also contact the Urgent Care Clinic at the Providence Center, where you can meet with a licensed clinical social worker and a psychiatric nurse within a week. 

For Missoula providers, see below. For providers in the Bitterroot Valley, click here.

Tips for Selecting a Provider.

Contact Information

Sexual Abuse/Assault

First Step

(406) 329-5776

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Call your doctor.

If you have a primary care doctor, they may be a good place to call first for education, referral, and consultation on your child's behavior. They may be able to rule out a medical reason for the behavior, and can discuss medication as an option. 

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