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Child Psychiatric Evaluation

It is normal to have questions when you or your loved one needs mental health treatment. It is not uncommon for parents to feel anxious when a child needs help and they don’t know what the process is.

What is a child psychiatric evaluation?

Psychiatric evaluation is a process of gathering information by a provider such as psychiatrist to check if a child or teenager has a mental health problem.

Parents may feel that there could be emotional, behavioral or developmental difficulties that the child or teen is struggling with and decide to obtain a psychiatric evaluation for them. The child or teen can also ask for help with the difficulties they may be facing at home, school or with their peers.

What are some common reasons to obtain a psychiatric evaluation?

Some common types of conditions that a parent or children can obtain a psych eval for can be,

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • School refusal


  • Anger problems

How do I prepare for a child psychiatric evaluation?

The doctor first obtains parental permission to evaluate a minor child or teenager. It is generally important for at least one of the parents to be present during the evaluation. If possible, think about the symptoms you are seeking help with. Help your child think about what they may want to say to the doctor. If there has been any previous treatment, it is helpful to write down the dates and reasons, names of previous mental health professionals and previous medications. Psychiatric evaluations can take from 60-120 minutes.

What happens during a psychiatric evaluation?

Dr. Palvai will obtain information from the parent and the child about several things. She will obtain information about,

  • The reason the family feels that psychiatric help was necessary and details about how and when these symptoms may have developed and progressed.

  • Past mental treatment, pertinent details about any medical problems and family history.

  • The doctor may also ask for certain questionnaires to be filled out by parents or teachers or the child.

  • It is possible that the doctor will want to talk to the child or teen alone for a part of the evaluation.

  • Obtain information about possible stresses that may have contributed to the symptoms.

What can I expect at the end of the evaluation?

Dr. Palvai will arrive at a conclusion about the nature of problems, causes and discuss possible ways to help the child.

She may discuss a treatment plan after the first meeting or request for more time to get information from other sources such as the school or your child’s therapist with your permission.

Your child’s treatment plan will be tailored to their individual needs. Dr. Palvai takes the time to understand your child’s needs, your family’s unique circumstances and preferences and makes individualized recommendations. You and your child will be partners in deciding the direction of this treatment plan. Dr. Palvai will discuss the risks and benefits of any medications and help you make an informed decision.

Take charge of your child’s wellbeing today. Start with a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation for your child. Give us a call today.


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