Parent and Caregiver Resources
Talking to children about mental illness can be an opportunity for parents and caregivers to provide their children with information, support, and guidance. Mental illness in children can be hard for parents and caregivers to identify. As a result, many children who could benefit from treatment don't get the help they need. It’s important to know what to watch for and how to get help.
If you have questions or comments, you can contact ACF and SAMHSA at ParentCaregiverTraining@samhsa.hhs.gov.
- For mental or substance use disorders, call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889, or text your zip code to 435748 (HELP4U).
- For help searching for substance use and mental health facilities, health care centers, buprenorphine practitioners, and opioid treatment providers with FindTreatment.gov.
- For help with suicidal thoughts or behaviors, talk to someone you can trust through the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Call or text 988 or chat the Lifeline.
- Early Childhood Mental Health Programs - SAMHSA funds these programs that promote and support the health and wellness of young children and their families.
- MentalHealth.gov – Provides users with information on a variety of mental health issues, including potential signs of mental illness, ways to seek help for mental health challenges, and videos that feature individual stories of mental illness, hope, and recovery.
- National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative (NCTSI) - SAMHSA’s NCTSI improves treatment and services for children, adolescents, and families who have experienced traumatic events.
- School and Campus Health - SAMHSA supports efforts to promote mental health and substance use prevention in schools and on campuses and to provide safe learning environments.
- "Talk. They Hear You."® Campaign - SAMHSA’s national substance use prevention campaign helps parents and caregivers, educators, and community members get informed, be prepared, and take action.
- ACF & Behavioral Health – ACF is a division of the Department of Health & Human Services that promotes the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals and communities. The ACF behavioral health webpage includes a section specifically for parents and caregivers.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – From birth to 5 years, your child should reach milestones in how he plays, learns, speaks, acts and moves. Track your child’s development and act early if you have a concern.
- CDC - Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) – Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can have a tremendous impact on future violence victimization and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity. CDC works to understand ACEs and prevent them.
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) – The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) offers authoritative information about mental disorders, a range of related topics, and the latest mental health research.
Family and Caregiver Access to Resources on Anxiety and Depression in Children and Youth Webinar
On July 19, 2023, ACF and SAMHSA hosted an educational training for parents and caregivers to provide practical information about anxiety and depression in children and adolescents. The training features practical information and resources to support parents and caregivers.
Parent and Caregiver Advocate
Kris Locus (they/she)
TAY Coordinator for On Our Own MD
Embrace, Encourage, & Engage: Family and Caregiver Access to Child and Youth Mental Health Resources Webinar
On March 22, 2023, the ACF and SAMHSA resources training (1 hour, 18 minutes) provided parents and caregivers with tools and skills to support their children.
Federal & Additional Resources
- American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry – AACAP Resource Centers empower consumers through patient education. Each AACAP Resource Center contains consumer-friendly definitions, answers to frequently asked questions, clinical resources, expert videos, and abstracts from the JAACAP, Scientific Proceedings and Facts for Families relevant to each disorder.
- American Psychiatric Association – The premier psychiatric organization that advances mental health as part of general health and well-being.
- Child Mind Institute – Find information to help you support children who are struggling with mental health, behavior or learning challenges.
- Mental Health America – Programs and initiatives fulfill its mission of promoting mental health and preventing mental illness through advocacy, education, research and services.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) – NAMI provides advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives.
- National Center for Transgender Equality – Advocates to change policies and society to increase understanding and acceptance of transgender people. In the nation’s capital and throughout the country, NCTE works to replace disrespect, discrimination, and violence with empathy, opportunity, and justice.
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) – The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) raises the standard of care and increase access to services for children and families who experience or witness traumatic events. This unique network of frontline providers, family members, researchers, and national partners is committed to changing the course of children’s lives by improving their care and moving scientific gains quickly into practice across the U.S.
- National Federation of Families – The National Federation works to develop and implement policies, legislation, funding mechanisms, and service systems that utilize the strengths of families. Its emphasis on advocacy offers families a voice in the formation of national policy, services and supports for their children with mental health needs and substance use challenges across the lifespan.
- Trans Lifeline – Connects trans people to the community support and resources they need to survive and thrive.
- Trans Student Educational Resources – A youth-led organization dedicated to transforming the educational environment for trans and gender non-conforming students through advocacy and empowerment. Founded in 2011, it is the only national organization led by trans youth.
- Trauma & Grief Center Virtual Learning Library – Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute – The Trauma and Grief (TAG) Center's Virtual Learning Library offers free webinars and resources focusing on childhood trauma and grief to key audiences: parents and caregivers, mental health clinicians, educators, health care providers, law enforcement, and other professionals working with children and adolescents who have experienced trauma and loss.
- YOUTH M.O.V.E. – A youth led national organization that works as a diverse collective to unite the voices and causes of youth while raising awareness around youth issues. We will advocate for youth rights and voice in mental health and the other systems that serve them, for the purpose of empowering youth to be equal partners in the process of change. Includes many resources and opportunities for involvement.