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  • Introduction

  • Dear Parent,

    Finding someone to take care of your child's mental health is just as important as finding someone to take care of his or her physical well being. If your child has a broken bone, you take him or her to an emergency room. But what if he or she is in an emotional crisis? Where do you go?

    A common complaint that we hear from parents is that they are frustrated with the complexity of the children's mental health care system and the process of navigating it. We at Bradley Hospital and the Rhode Island Department of Health want to help solve this problem and provide accurate and useful information about mental healthcare for your child. With the generous support of Hasbro, Inc., we have researched and produced this "how-to" guide for parents on children's mental health issues. This guide is not meant to diagnose your child. It is meant to be a one-stop resource for all parents-from those who simply have questions about common children's mental health problems, such as ADHD, low self-esteem, or depression, to those who are looking for advocacy organizations and support groups to help them with difficult issues concerning their child's diagnosis. This guide is written for parents, but it is our hope that family members, community organizations, schools, and healthcare providers will also use the information in this guide.

    The mental health care system in Rhode Island is complex. This guide maps out all the different parts of the system (both public and private) and how they connect to each other. We have included warning signs and symptoms of mental health issues; definitions, symptoms, and evaluation and treatment options of common mental health diagnoses; and descriptions of different types of mental healthcare providers, organizations, programs, and services that can help parents.

    Caring for the mental health needs of your children is our priority. It is our sincere wish that this guide will help children and their families find the answers they need about mental healthcare and enable them to better access and use the children's mental health care system in Rhode Island.

    Sincerely,

    David R. Gifford, MD, MPH
    Director of Health
    Rhode Island Department of Health
    Daniel J. Wall
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Bradley Hospital, a Lifespan partner

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