Dr. Minton is a psychiatrist and pediatrician who joined our practice 11/2021 and is taking new patients. Not everyone understands what a psychiatrist does, so we have asked Dr. Minton to answer some questions for us! If your child has any mental health concerns, Dr. Minton would love to see them in the office for an evaluation.
What does it mean to be a pediatrician and a psychiatrist?
I finished training in both pediatrics and psychiatry and am board-certified in both specialties! Psychiatrists focus on evaluation for mental health conditions and prescribing medications when it is necessary. As a pediatrician, I am to talk about how physical health impacts mental health. Pediatricians can do basic mental health evaluations, but psychiatrists are better trained to do this.
What reasons do people come to see you?
The most common reasons are sadness, anger, irritability, worrying, poor motivation, problems paying attention, aggression, suicidal thoughts, or traumatic experiences. I have also seen patients with autism spectrum disorder, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, and problems with substance use. Some kids have never seen a psychiatrist before, others have been on multiple medications before and are looking to see if there are other options.
Do you do therapy with your patients?
Therapy is just as important as medication to help kids get better. I am not a therapist, but I learned about different kinds of therapy during my training so I can guide you to find the right kind of therapy for your child. During my visits, I will talk about some things that therapists talk about, like healthy lifestyle changes and how thoughts impact behavior. But, I do not see people regularly for therapy visits and unfortunately waiting lists for many therapists are long.
Do you always prescribe medication for your patients?
No! I personally am very cautious about medications in kids. I only recommend medication if I don’t think that other strategies will help enough. My goal in using medication is for the symptoms to be fully treated, then to try to come off the medication. I always look to take children off of psychiatric medication when it is no longer needed or is not helping.
What happens during the first visit with you?
The first visit takes about an hour. I will first go over any paperwork or screening tests that you have completed. We will talk about mood, worries, attention, sleep, eating, and safety. Mental health concerns impact all parts of a child’s life, so we will talk about the home environment, school, and relationships. We will talk about other things that impact brain health, such as early developmental issues, exposure to traumatic experiences (abuse, bullying, etc) or substance use. Your child will have an opportunity to talk with me alone, which is confidential for them unless I have concerns about their safety.
What if I am 18 or older and I want to see you?
I am happy to see you up until age 21. When you are 18, you have a right to be treated confidentially. This means that your parents are not involved in your care unless you want them to be.
How often do you see your patients?
If we start a new medicine or change medicines, I will want to see your child again in about a month. If your child is doing well on current medicines, I will see your child about every 3 months. Once we are ready to try to stop medications, your child will be able to follow up with their pediatrician only and just see me if needed.
Can you help with issues at school?
I am willing to communicate with schools when I feel it would be beneficial. I often provide letters explaining a child’s diagnosis in order for the school to consider additional support.
We already have a psychiatrist - can we still see you?
Yes! I’m happy to evaluate your child as a second opinion about their care. You can then choose to stay with your previous psychiatrist or transfer care to me.
Our pediatrician prescribes ADHD medicine. Do we have to have appointments with them and with you?
No. If I see your child, I can prescribe their ADHD medication as well as any other mental health medication that they need. Your child will still see their pediatrician for their annual check-ups and any illnesses.
Do you have evening or weekend hours?
Not at this time. Your child will only need to see me at most once a month if starting a new medicine, then visits will be spaced out from there if your child is improving. Follow up visits are generally 30 minutes, so school shouldn’t be too disrupted.
Why do we have to see a pediatrician at your practice to see you?
Seeing both your primary care doctor and a psychiatrist at the same place is the absolute best care we can provide for your child. This allows us to talk with each other about how your child is doing on a more regular basis. It also allows us to really think about how physical health and mental health are connected.