Emotional, Behavioral, & Mental Health

Mental health in childhood means reaching developmental and emotional milestones, learning healthy social skills, and how to cope when there are problems or stress. Subtopics included are:

Mental Health in Children and Youth

All children go through changes in their behavior and mood, such as anger and sadness, as they grow. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) describes mental health disorders as serious changes in the way children and youth usually learn, behave, or handle their feelings.

A mental health disorder, also known as emotional or behavioral health disorder, is a medical condition that disrupts a child’s coping, thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily functioning. Mental health concerns should be talked about, and a mental health diagnosis needs to be treated and followed just as one would do for a seizure disorder or other physical health condition.

Mental health disorders are much harder to notice than other health concerns. Parents find themselves trying to figure out what is “normal” and what isn’t in their child’s behavior. Parents then have to figure out what to do and where to go first.

This section of the Medical Home Portal has information to help you learn more about mental health disorders, as well as the therapies, providers, services, and resources that can be useful. Please also see our Mental Health/Counseling > … (see NW providers [47]) page for a list of mental and behavioral service categories, and once on that page, you can narrow your search by city or using the Search within this Category field.


Information & Support

Services for Patients & Families Nationwide (NW)

For services not listed above, browse our Services categories or search our database.

* number of provider listings may vary by how states categorize services, whether providers are listed by organization or individual, how services are organized in the state, and other factors; Nationwide (NW) providers are generally limited to web-based services, provider locator services, and organizations that serve children from across the nation.

Authors & Reviewers

Initial publication: October 2014; last update/revision: August 2019
Current Authors and Reviewers:
Author: Gina Pola-Money
Reviewer: Mindy Tueller, MS, MCHES