If you have a teenager getting ready to enter the adult world on his or her own, it can be scary to think of them managing their own health care. Your child is probably used to you making doctor’s appointments when you think it is necessary, and taking care of details such as medical histories and insurance. Be sure your child is armed with the tools needed to advocate for him or herself before they head off to the adult world — be it college, the military, or the workforce. Make sure they have/know:
1. The Right Paperwork. Whether they need insurance information, social security/phone numbers, medical records or anything else, be sure your child has the necessary information.
2. Understand How to Advocate. Growing up, children think adults have all the answers. Be sure your child knows if he or she is having a mental (or physical) health issue, that he or she needs to seek help.
3. How to Articulate Needs. Teens can often be vague about what it is specifically that they need. Teach them how to communicate what they need.
Research shows that only about 25% of young people aged 18-25 years old consider themselves to be adults. It’s important for a child going into the adult world to understand that people will now see them as adults, and that is one of the reasons it is so important to advocate for themselves. If you think your child is struggling with depression or another mental health condition, you can take a screening on their behalf at www.genesistherapy.org.