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Treatment for mental health issues

By Gail Belsky

At a Glance

  • Therapy and medication are common treatments.

  • There are many types of professionals who help with mental health issues.

  • Therapy can also help with difficult emotions and stress.

People who learn and think differently are more likely to have mental health issues than other people. Anxiety and depression are fairly common, in fact.

In some cases, it’s due to stress. In others, there’s a more direct link. For example, many kids and adults with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder. The two conditions are known to co-occur.

Treatments for mental health issues include therapy and medication. A common therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It’s a form of talk therapy. 

There are many medications for treating various mental health issues. People don’t all respond to medications in the same way. So, prescribers work to make sure the type and dosage is right for each person.

Medication and therapy aren’t the only things that can help. People can learn strategies to cope with stress and tough emotions. And working on learning and behavior challenges can create a more positive outlook.

Dive Deeper

How cognitive behavioral therapy can help

One of the most common types of therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It’s a form of talk therapy aimed at helping people look at their thoughts and feelings. One of the goals is to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. CBT can be used by kids and adults.

CBT is used to treat a number of mental health issues. These include:

  • Anxiety disorders

  • Depression

  • Eating disorders

  • Bipolar disorders

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

CBT isn’t just for people with diagnosed mental health conditions. It can also help people who are struggling with negative feelings or behaviors. CBT can help people cope with stress and work through challenging situations.

Get more information on cognitive behavioral therapy .

Professionals that help with mental health issues

There’s a wide range of professionals that help with mental health issues. Some specialize in kids or teens. Some have a lot of experience with learning and thinking differences.

They work in a variety of settings, including in schools, hospitals, universities, and at mental health clinics. Many have private practices. 

These professionals include:

  • Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW)—provide individual and group therapy

  • Psychologists—diagnose mental health issues and provide individual and group therapy

  • School psychologists—provide counseling to students at school

  • Psychiatrists—diagnose mental health issues and prescribe medication. May provide therapy

  • Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN): may provide therapy and prescribe medication

Fees vary widely. They depend on education, setting, and the services provided. Counseling at school is free. But visits to a private psychiatrist may be very expensive. 

Professionals in medical settings may be more likely to take insurance or work on a sliding scale. Make sure whichever professional you choose is licensed to practice in your state.

Discover places to find a therapist for your child or yourself.

Treating co-occurring conditions

People may have other issues besides their mental health concern. That might include learning challenges, ADHD, autism, or a medical condition. (They may also have more than one mental health issue.)

It’s important to treat each issue separately. Many experts suggest starting with the most serious one first. Talk to both your healthcare and mental health professional.

Find out about the link   between ADHD, learning differences, and mental health issues.

Supports for mental health issues

While they’re not actually treatments, there are supports that can help at school and work. One example is accommodations. These are changes to the environment that make it easier for people with mental health issues to do their best work.

For example, students might be able to take tests in a quiet room, away from other students. Or they might get additional time to complete work. Employees might be able to adjust their work schedules.

For parents/caregivers and educators: See a list of common accommodations for anxiety

For employees and employers: Get examples of accommodations in the workplace

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  • Coming soonGoogle Classroom