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Light the Way Forward

A Mental Health Toolkit

For parents and caregivers who are concerned about their child’s wellbeing, it can be overwhelming to try to figure out where to start. 

Children’s Mercy has put together some resources to help you get your child on the path to better mental health. Together, we can help you find hope and light the way forward for mental health in our communities.

Where do I start?


Your child’s pediatrician or primary care provider is often the best place to start when you are looking for help with mental health concerns. But when you need additional support with diagnosis and treatment, your provider may refer you to Children’s Mercy or a community mental health center. 

Children’s Mercy will work closely with your primary care provider to coordinate care for your child.

Learn more about...


If your child struggles with anxiety or depression, they’re not alone: 1 in 5 children ages 3-17 have a mental health disorder. Here are some resources to help: 

Neurodiversity is a term that describes how differences in our brains lead us all to experience the world in our own way. Someone who is neurodivergent may think and interact with others in a way that is different from what is typical or expected.  
People who have a diagnosis of autism, ADHD, anxiety, OCD, dyslexia, intellectual disabilities, Tourette syndrome or other neurological differences often fall under the umbrella of neurodivergent. Find out how Children’s Mercy can support your child if they have or are suspected to have a diagnosis of:

Eating disorders can take many forms and affect people of all ages, sizes and genders. Like most mental health issues, eating disorders impact the entire family, so Children’s Mercy takes a family-based approach to treatment for eating disorders in children and teens. 

Suicide is preventable. Talking to someone about suicide will not make them more likely to act. In fact, research shows that providing support and talking about suicide is helpful to people in crisis. The suicide prevention hotline, 988, is free and available all the time to anyone who needs help. 

Our goal is to help every child feel as comfortable as possible while they are at a Children’s Mercy hospital or clinic. Here are some of the ways we do that: 

  • Child Life specialists provide age-appropriate support to any child who needs it.

  • The Comfort Promise for needle procedures reduces the pain and fear around needle sticks.

  • Playrooms, activities, art and music therapy, facility dogs, special guests and other ways to keep kids engaged and entertained during medical treatment. 

Take action

If you or someone you know is making suicidal threats or actions, immediately call 911 or take the person to the nearest emergency room.

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is free and confidential. Call 988.

Additional resources are available below.

Russell and his mom Jen

Finding mental health help

For me, I knew I needed help when I could no longer manage my son’s violent behaviors. For you, it might be something else. If you have a hunch that something is changing with your kid, stay curious and observant.

Jen Robertson

Read about a family who struggled to find the right supports for their teenage son and how they overcame barriers to care.

Continuous improvements to care

As part of our vision to create a world of wellbeing for all children, Children’s Mercy is continually working to extend our mental health efforts to reach as many children and families as possible. Here are a few of the ways we are working toward this goal:

  • Adding more trained and qualified pediatric mental health providers to expand access in our clinics. 

  • Emergency care for children in crisis at our Adele Hall and Kansas Emergency Rooms. 

  • Partnerships with local health care providers, schools and community organizations. 

  • Individualized safety plans and follow-up care instructions for families before they are discharged from the hospital or Emergency Room. 

  • Screening questions at our hospitals and clinics to help connect families with mental health resources when needed. 

Helping Your Child During a Mental Health Crisis

The Children's Mercy Acute Mental Health Screening team made this guide to help parents and caregivers know what to do when a child or teen is having a mental health crisis. You can get step-by-step guidance for different circumstances and find out what to expect if you come to the Emergency Room with a child in crisis.