How do I decide if my child should be seen?

Children, teens and families are seen for a variety of reasons; to help with an adjustment to a change, to help with parenting issues, to give support through a difficult time such as a divorce, death of a loved one, or peer issues. They may be seen to help after a traumatic event, or because of behavior or mood issues.

We can help you decide if Psychological testing is indicated. Not every issue or problem needs formal psychological testing.

It may help to discuss your concerns or observations of your child with another person who knows the child well, such as a teacher, your clergy, the primary care physician or a close relative. Often it is helpful to gently discuss your concerns and feelings with the child, encouraging open discussion of feelings and possible solutions.

Sometimes after discussion in the first appointment, the family and child are reassured about their ability to handle a situation and no further appointments are needed. Other times the family is able to feel the support of the therapist and have relief at finding someone to help with the issues.

The following are a few signs from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry which may indicate that a child and adolescent psychiatric evaluation will be useful.

Younger Children

  • Marked fall in school performance.
  • Poor grades in school despite trying very hard.
  • Severe worry or anxiety, as shown by regular refusal to go to school, difficulty going to sleep or reluctance to take part in activities that are normal for the child's age.
  • Hyperactivity; fidgeting; constant movement beyond regular playing.
  • Persistent nightmares.
  • Persistent disobedience or aggression (longer than 6 months) and provocative opposition to authority figures.
  • Frequent, unexplainable temper tantrums.

Pre-Adolescents and Adolescents

  • Marked change in school performance.
  • Inability to cope with problems and daily activities.
  • Marked changes in sleeping and/or eating habits.
  • Frequent physical complaints.
  • Sexual acting out.
  • Depression shown by sustained, prolonged negative mood and attitude, often accompanied by poor appetite, difficulty sleeping or thoughts of death.
  • Abuse of alcohol and/or drugs.
  • Intense fear of becoming obese with no relationship to actual body weight, purging food or restricting eating.
  • Persistent nightmares.
  • Threats of self-harm or harm to others.
  • Self-injury or self destructive behavior.
  • Frequent outbursts of anger, aggression.
  • Threats to run away.
  • Aggressive or non-aggressive consistent violation of rights of others; opposition to authority, truancy, thefts, or vandalism.
  • Strange thoughts, beliefs, feelings, or unusual behaviors.

Shouldn't I be able to handle my child's problems without help?

Being a parent does not mean that you have all the answers. Being able to recognize when you need help is setting a good example for your child or teen. In today's complex world, there are so many demands and issues that no one can be expected to have all the answers. We understand that parenting is never easy.

Who can be seen at Meridian Youth?

Meridian youth focuses on children and adolescents from infancy through high school. We see a wide variety of issues, situations and diagnoses. We see children/ teens and their families adjusting to a change or stressful situation, with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, autism spectrum disorders including Aspergers, and others.

How do we get started?

Call 317-844-0055 to make a first appointment. We try hard to answer the telephone, but sometimes when you call we are either helping someone in the office or on another call. Feel free to leave a message and we'll call you back to make the appointment. We'll need to know information such as your address and telephone numbers, your child's name and age and a brief statement as to what your concerns are. If you are planning use your insurance, we'll need to know who carries the insurance for the child and the insurance numbers.

After we get the necessary information, an appointment will be made with one of the therapists, either Master's prepared, or a Ph.D. In that first appointment, you will share more details about your concerns and a plan for treatment will be discussed based on your child's and families strengths and the concerns. If you and the clinician think your child needs to be on medication, an appointment will be made with the psychiatrist for a medication evaluation after that first appointment with the therapist.

What will it cost?

Your direct out-of-pocket expense will depend on a variety of variables that can be discussed with the front office staff when you make the appointment. Costs depend on your insurance co-pay, your deductable, if you are in or out of network, and if a Master's level therapist, Ph.D. or MD is seen. Finally, the cost depends on the service and the amount of time of the appointment. For example, psychological testing is not the same rate as a therapy appointment.

What do I need to know about my insurance?

Meridian Youth is in network with some insurance and not with others. When you call for information or to make an appointment, we can determine if we are in or out of network for your insurance.

If you are planning on using your insurance benefits, you will want to check with your insurance to find out what company carries your mental health benefits. This may be the same as your medical insurance or it may be another contracted company. You'll want to know your in-network benefits and your out-of-network benefits, the amount of your co-pay, if you have any deductible before the insurance will pay, if pre-authorization for the appointment is required and if there are any exclusions for diagnosis or type of therapy.

Meridian Youth Psychiatric Center will file the visit whether or not we are in or out of network for most insurance companies. If you are out of network, we may ask that you pay for the visit at the time of the appointment if your insurance company sends the reimbursement to your home.

Who should come to the appointments?

The parents or legal guardian should always attend the first appointment, even if the teen is able to drive to the appointment independently. If the parents are divorced, one or both parents may accompany the child to the first appointment. A parent should always accompany the child or teen to a medication appointment. Feel free to ask questions when you call to make an appointment. Once the assessment is complete, you and your therapist or will decide if the child will be seen individually, with a parent or with the whole family.

How long are the appointments?

The length of appointment times varies but there are some general guidelines. First appointments and most therapy appointments are 45 to 50 minutes. If your child is on medications, the follow-up medication check appointments are usually just 30 minutes.

How many appointments will it take?

The number of appointments depends on your child's diagnosis or situation. Some children and families report an improvement after just a few visits. Others may have a more chronic diagnosis or long term issue that will require more visits. How often the appointments are scheduled will be decided with the therapist.

What should I tell my child about the appointment?

As a parent, you will need to decide the exact age appropriate words so that your child or teen will understand. However, the following paragraph is a summary of what can be explained.

Part of being brave and smart is knowing it is perfectly OK to ask for help or support. Meridian Youth Psychiatric Center is a place to discuss issues, feelings, worries and behaviors in a safe, non-judgmental environment. The first appointment will focus on understanding the concerns, thinking about what the goals are, and making a plan to help.

I don't want my child on medication.

Not all children need medication. Many parents prefer to work with their child in therapy before deciding if it is necessary to schedule with a psychiatrist for a medication evaluation.

What if my child needs medication?

At times, therapy is not enough to make a difference for a child and parents may want to consider medication. The psychiatrist can talk with you about the benefits and risks of specific medications that may help your child. This discussion about medication can help the parent and child with their decision. The psychiatrist will then see your child on a regular basis to be sure the medication is meeting the child's needs while keeping him/her safe. Our psychiatrists are board certified in child and adolescent psychiatry.


There are many laws protecting privacy and confidentiality for you and your child. We work hard to honor your privacy and confidentiality of care received. If you have questions about anything in therapy, you should feel free to ask and clarify so that you are comfortable with the process. We encourage you and the child to feel free to share all pertinent information knowing that we will protect your privacy.

Who sees patients at Meridian Youth Psychiatric Center?

It can be confusing when it comes to the various educational backgrounds and who should or can see your child. The following is a brief explanation of the clinicians and what the educational background means. For the purpose of this document, we refer to therapist to mean either the master's prepared clinician unless otherwise specified. Clinician may refer to either of the variously trained professionals; Master's prepared, or MD.

Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist

The child and adolescent psychiatrist was first trained as an M.D. and then had advanced training to be a psychiatrist. This was followed by two more years of training specific to the needs of children and adolescents. Child and adolescent psychiatrists perform neuropsychiatric evaluations and as physicians can prescribe and monitor medications.

Masters Prepared Therapists

Meridian Youth has Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW), and Licensed Mental Health Clinicians (LMHC). These clinicians have earned a Master's degree in mental health and counseling and have taken an exam certifying their experience and knowledge and all are licensed by the State of Indiana. All of the therapists at Meridian Youth have a child and adolescent specialty.

Clinical Nurse Specialist

The clinical nurse specialist has a Master's Degree in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing and has passed an advanced practice nursing board exam certifying experience and knowledge. Some Master's prepared nurses also have prescriptive authority.