WHAT IS A CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRIST?


Child and adolescent psychiatrists have the education, training and experience to treat the highest levels of complexity and severity in children's mental illness.  A child and adolescent psychiatrist is a medical doctor - a physician - who is skilled in:

  • Normal childhood development and child and adult mental illness
  • Assessment, treatment and prevention of mental illness, including substance use disorders
  • Understanding and explaining the interface between mental illness and other medical conditions
  • Psychotherapy and other therapeutic modalities to facilitate positive outcomes in mental health
  • Recommending (or recommending against) the use of psychiatric medications in the treatment of childhood, adolescent and adult mental illness
  • Discerning developmental needs along important life domains including school, family, interpersonal relationships and community functioning

For more information, please visit the information pages of AACAP and APA on this subject.

PSYCHIATRIC PHYSICIANS

HELPING CHILDREN, ADOLESCENTS, PARENTS AND FAMILIES.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS


Q: Where can I find a child and adolescent psychiatrist in my state or community?

         A: Click on the Members page.

Q: What can I do if there are no child and adolescent psychiatrists in my community?

         A: Contact your community Pediatrician, Family Practice physician or primary care provider.

Q: What can I do to advocate for a child and adolescent psychiatrist to be available in my community?

         A: Clearly communicate your expectations to your community hospital, local mental health agency, and state departmental and elected officials.

​Q: If my child sees a child and adolescent psychiatrist, will they end up on medications?

         A: In many cases, child and adolescent psychiatrists recommend and advocate for treatments other than medications.  For more information on

              psychiatric medications, visit ParentsMedGuide.org.

Q: Will I be blamed for my child's problems?

         A: No, although you likely are the most important factor in his or her recovery. All parents can learn new skills to help their child.

Q: Where can I find more information to help my child?

         A: Good resources for information on helping and advocating for your child include AACAPNAMIMental Health America and NIMH.

Q: What if I think my child needs help but do not want them labeled with a disorder?

         A: While the stigma of having a mental illness remains in the US, the impact of untreated mental illness typically is far worse.

Q: Who can help me advocate for my child or a child in my care?

         A: Montana organizations include NAMI MontanaMental Health America of MontanaPLUKCASA of Montana and Disability Rights Montana.

WHAT IS THE TRAINING OF A CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRIST?


A child and adolescent psychiatrist has successfully completed the following educational and training requirements:

  • Completed an undergraduate college degree or training - typically a 4-year college degree
  • Completed medical school training and earned a Doctorate of Medicine (MD) or Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) - both are 4-year degrees
  • Completed and passed 3 separate steps of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)
  • Completed specialization in a General Psychiatry Residency program - typically a 4-year program
  • Completed subspecialization in a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship program - typically a 2-year program
  • Maintains an unrestricted license to practice medicine in the state where he/she provides care
  • Pursues ongoing learning and professional development through Continuing Medical Education (CME) activities

For more information, please visit the information pages of AACAP and APA on this subject.