When your child has mental health or behavioral health concerns, it can feel lonely and isolating. I wish there was something I could say that would help you to feel understood and seen, but you can rest in the knowledge that hundreds of other moms in Charleston are in the same position.
The good news is that Charleston is rich with resources to help your struggling kiddo at whatever level of care is required, whether that means in-home or out-of-home care.
These resources go beyond the basics of regular therapy and counseling. While those are a crucial component of managing mental health concerns, sometimes kids need a higher level of care. These are some of my favorite behavioral and mental health resources around Charleston to meet you where you are with your child right now.
Mental and Behavioral Health Resources in Charleston
- Wraparound Services
One of my favorite resources in Charleston is the JusticeWorks Family of Services. They provide Rehabilitative Behavioral Health Services that touch every aspect of your child’s well-being and their ability to function within the community. JusticeWorks helps your family develop a service plan, complete a diagnostic assessment, and more.
They allow you access to face-to-face services like behavior modification for children who have challenging behaviors that impede their ability to function at home or in the community. Along with their behavior modification, they also offer crisis management via phone or face-to-face for kids who are in the midst of a crisis.
They can help parents make a plan for the next steps (which may include some of the other resources in this list).
One of the best things is that you can get all of your care under one umbrella. JusticeWorks also offers individual and family therapy.
- Day Treatment
When you need more help than what JusticeWorks can provide with in-home services, switching to a day treatment model may be the next best thing. Day treatment allows children to get intensive help for roughly the same number of hours that they would spend in school.
Unlike long-term residential programs or acute care, they return home for family time in the evenings and to sleep in their own bed at night.
MUSC offers its STAR program for kids ages six to 17 with behavioral challenges. The goal of the STAR program is to stabilize the child, provide treatment, assess functioning, and then reintegrate them back into the community.
Every service you could possibly need is available under MUSC’s umbrella at the STAR program. They can help your child with appropriate goal setting and individual intervention. Families are provided with both education and therapy while the child attends process groups. Even a learning assessment is available, though it should be noted that STAR is not a school.
When required, they also offer a medication management piece to treatment.
- Acute Care
If your child is in immediate need of services at a higher level than what these outpatient models provide, it may be time to seek acute psychiatric treatment with a short-term stay in a hospital setting to ensure the safety of your child.
Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Health offers no-cost assessments to determine if this is right for your child without the lengthy wait in the emergency room of a local hospital.
Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Health has an adolescent unit for kids ages twelve to seventeen. They offer a robust selection of treatment options to help stabilize your child so that they can move to a less restrictive level of care. Throughout their days on the unit, children will participate in individual and group therapy, family sessions, evaluations, medication management, and even recreation therapy.
MUSC also offers an inpatient program for younger children (ages 5 to seventeen) who are in an immediate crisis. Their social workers and psychiatrists work with families to help put services in place before discharging children back into the care of their parents. Much like Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Health, they provide access to resources on coping skills, recreation and activity therapies, goal-setting, and individual sessions.
- Long-Term Residential Care
Sometimes children with serious behavioral and mental health concerns may need more long-term care than what MUSC or Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Health can offer. While this is a difficult thing for parents to come to terms with, there are other resources in Charleston that you may want to research and consider for your struggling child.
Palmetto Summerville Behavioral Health is right around the corner from Summerville Hospital and provides residential treatment for children ages 7 to eighteen. They offer an extremely structured environment with individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy sessions as a part of the comprehensive treatment.
Windwood Family Services out in Awendaw offers a similar model of psychiatric treatment in a more residential setting for boys ages 6 to sixteen. Like Palmetto Summerville, your child will have access to a team of nursing staff, licensed therapists, social workers, recreation therapists, and direct care staff to make sure that their needs are met.
Finding Care For Your Child
Navigating the complex healthcare systems to get your child the help they need for mental or behavioral health challenges can be tricky. Many parents aren’t aware of the abundant resources available in and around Charleston, but they exist if you know where to look.
Placing your child in any of these programs can be a difficult decision, but doing your research ensures that you know just what help they will receive.
Lastly, if you are facing this challenge with your child, know that you are not alone. Families just like yours are struggling with similar issues all over Charleston and beyond. These resources can guide you to get the help that you and your child desperately need.