Treatment FAQ

Does my child have to take medication if I am against medication?

We understand some parents or legal guardians might feel uncomfortable having their child take medication. Medication usually is only one part of a treatment plan that also includes counseling and other supports. However, medication can be a very important part of helping your child get relief from the symptoms of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety or more complex problems.

When starting services with Highland Rivers Health, your child will see a doctor or nurse practitioner for an overall assessment. That assessment will help determine what services and supports will be most effective for your child, including whether your child would benefit from medication. The decision to have your child use medication is joint decision between you and the doctor or nurse practitioner. Medication is never given without your consent, and a parent or legal guardian must sign a consent form before medication can be given to your child.

Why does my child need therapy or counseling? Why can’t he or she just see the doctor?

Medication is only part of a comprehensive mental health treatment and recovery plan. Counseling and other therapy are also important parts of this plan and can help make medication more effective in relieving the symptoms of mental illness and helping your child recover. Therapy teaches children, adolescents and their families more about their mental health issues, ways to cope with their symptoms and how to manage stressors or triggers that can aggravate their symptoms.

What is CSS?

CSS stands for Community Support Services (also known as Community Support, Individual – or CSI). Community Support Services provide support children and families need to manage their mental health or substance use issues, teach coping skills, and link children and their families to other resources in the community. CSS are customized to the needs of a child and his or her family, and are provided in the child’s home, school or other locations in the community. (Read more about CSS here.)

Why do you want to do provide counseling or CSS in my home or my child’s school?

Home is often the most convenient place for children and their families to receive services because they don’t have to worry about driving anywhere, arranging transportation or privacy. In addition, providing services in a child’s natural environment (home or school) allows the child to learn and practice new skills in the same setting they need to use them. For these reasons, delivering services in a child’s home or school has been found to be much more effective. Our workers have visited all kinds of home environments and are not there to judge the home – they are there only to help the child and family.

What do I need to bring to the first appointment?

You (the parent or legal guardian) and the child both need to attend the first appointment. The parent or guardian must bring:

  • Your picture ID (driver’s license or state ID)
  • Proof of parental status or guardianship (your birth certificate, legal divorce decree, adoption papers, guardianship papers from the court, etc.)
  • Proof of household income (“household income” includes the income of both the parent or legal guardian and his or her spouse, if married. If one or more of the adults has no income, the Department of Labor can provide a wage and earning statement as proof of no income.)
  • Insurance card (Medicaid, PeachCare, etc.) if the child has insurance
  • The child’s Social Security card – or – the child’s Social Security number and birth certificate

Which appointments is the parent or legal guardian required to attend?

The parent or legal guardian must attend the first appointment to sign a consent for the child to be assessed and receive services. At this time, the parent can also sign a release that allows another person (such as a step-parent, grandparent, etc.) to bring the child to appointments and allows staff to share information about the child with that person. Also, a parent or legal guardian must come to any appointment when medication is prescribed or changed to sign the medication consent form.

How can a get my child into a psychiatric residential treatment facility (PRFT)?

The criteria for a child to receive treatment at a PRFT is different depending on your insurance or payer source. Highland Rivers generally recommends children receive outpatient services first in an effort to stabilize and treat the child without having to remove him or her from home or school. However, during your child’s initial assessment, the doctor or nurse practitioner will determine if a residential treatment facility may be most effective for helping your child.

Why are some people eligible for services that others are not?

The specific services (such as counseling, medication, CSS, other supports, etc.) the doctor or nurse practitioner recommends for your child are based on the child’s diagnosis, symptoms and behaviors, and level of functioning. Some types of insurance or other payer sources pay for specific services while others do not. If your child’s insurance will not pay for a specific service you would like him or her to have, your child’s therapist can tell you about other options and similar services.

Can I get psychological or academic testing at Highland Rivers?

Highland Rivers does not provide psychological or academic testing. We provide behavioral health assessments and diagnostic assessments, which are done by licensed therapists, doctors (psychiatrists) and nurse practitioners. These assessments provide you and your clinicians important information about your child’s diagnosis, symptoms and treatment needs. This information is used to create your child’s individual recovery plan (IRP), determine which services will be most effective, and help your child recover.