Mental health

Mental health can have a serious impact on physical health and the progression of a child into adulthood. Mental health is also associated with the prevalence and progression of chronic disease, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Visit the Pediatric Mental and Behavioral Health Program at Children's Wisconsin.


Children and adolescents are experiencing significant mental and behavioral health concerns, and many families are unsure how to address these concerns with their children. Effective coping skills help your child deal with stressful situations in life. Managing stress well can help your child feel better physically and psychologically.  



Mental health concerns can affect many areas of your child’s life, reducing their quality of life, physical health, and academic achievement.  

  • Ask if your child’s school has a counselor, social worker, or psychologist who can provide additional guidance and support to your child 
  • Your child may qualify for mental health accommodations at school through an IEP (individualized education plan) or a 504 Plan (please refer to the Transition homepage for more information)
  • You can also contact the Department of Public Instruction (DPI)
  • WI Facets can provide additional guidance and support

Age of Consent for Treatment (for the State of WI)

As your child ages, there will be changes in the consent process for their care. 

  • Alcohol and other Drug Addiction (AODA) (patient age 12 or older can consent)
  • Mental health (patient age 14 or older can consent as well as their guardian) 
  • Reproductive decisions / STI testing (patient age 14 or older can consent) 
  • Medical care (patient age 18 or older can consent provided they do not need an adult guardian, or patient age 16 or older who is married can consent) 

Transition to Adult Mental Health Providers

There is a shortage of pediatric mental health providers, so accessing mental health services is difficult for many families. Once your child becomes an adult and is ready to transition to adult care, it can be equally challenging to identify adult mental health providers. 

  • Identify adult mental health providers prior to your child turning age 18 as waiting lists can be long 
  • Contact your insurance to identify in network providers
  • Ask for a referral from your child’s adult primary care physician
  • Please note that Children’s WI is not specifically affiliated with an adult health care system
  • Review bios of providers to determine the best fit for your adult child (for example, consider male or female preference or choose a provider based on your child’s mental health diagnosis and the provider’s area of expertise)
  • Froedtert Tosa Health Center may be a resource for your adult child
  • Contact your local Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) for additional resources