Collaborative Care Resources for Parents/ Guardians

Collaborative Care Content and Activities

What is Collaborative Care?

Description: Your child’s medical provider has recommended that they participate in Collaborative Care to address their mental health symptoms along with their physical health. Collaborative Care is a team-based treatment approach that can help improve their overall health by integrating their mental and physical health needs by viewing them in a more holistic way. Watch this video to learn more.

What does each person do?

Description: This handout is designed to help you understand how Collaborative Care works, what each member of the team does, and what your teen will experience by participating in this treatment journey. Read the handout below to learn more.


Benefits of Collaborative Care

Description: Collaborative Care has many benefits, including easier access to care and more comprehensive treatment. Read this handout to learn more about the positive impact this team-based approach to care can have for your teen. Read the handout below to learn more.


Commitment to treatment

Description: We are committed to working with your child and prioritizing them within their care team. No one else knows them better than they know themselves and we take that seriously. People who remain engaged and active in treatment tend to see results faster, so the efforts really do pay off. Through journals and videos explaining coping mechanisms, we will do our best to ensure that your teen is prepared as possible for whatever comes their way. Your teen will meet with their care manager to create a plan with achievable goals and begin taking steps toward a healthier, happier future. Watch this video to learn more.

Getting Started

Description: Mental health issues are very common and affect 1 in 5 teens in the US. Over the next few weeks your teen will meet with their Care Manager to work on building new coping skills. In this journey they will learn about some things they can do to manage difficult changes or life adjustments.

Mental Health Treatment

Description: When left untreated, mental health disorders can be chronic and result in bigger issues with family, social and work responsibilities. There are effective treatments available to treat mental health disorders. You will learn more about the available treatments throughout this journey. Watch this video to learn more.

Overview of Journey

Description:  So far, we have given an overview of the kinds of things your teen will learn throughout their journey. Over the next few weeks, your teen will learn about different ways that have worked for others in treating their mental health disorder. These skills will help you feel better and build confidence that you can be treated.

Character Strengths

Description:  Mental health disorders affect our thoughts and perceptions about the world and ourselves. One way we can feel better over time is to practice focusing on our character strengths. Strengths protect us against negative effects of stress and can be hard to identify. Watch this video


Description: Mindfulness has been proven to improve mental health. Mindfulness is the practice of noticing what you are thinking and feeling without judgment. Watch this video to learn more.

Self Compassion

Description: Practicing mindfulness makes us aware of emotions. Once aware, we can get  better at saying how we feel with practice. Learning how to identify and express our emotions will help us feel better over time. Watch this video to learn more.

Automatic Negative Thoughts

Description: A lot of our thoughts are automatic and negative. These automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) pop into our heads before we even know we’re having them. Watch this video to learn how they can strongly affect our moods.

Thought Distortions

Description: Our thoughts can feel very real at times, but believing everything we think can have a negative impact on our mental health. Thought distortions are an example of common thinking patterns we all experience. In general, most people can relate to some type of thought distortion. Look over the handout on thought distortions. Do any of these sound familiar? Read the following handout and write about this in your journal.


Behavioral Activation 

Description: Behavioral Activation is a skill used in the treatment of mental health disorders. It has to do with how behaviors and feelings influence each other, and it is evidence-based (which means it works!). It also aligns with the goals your teen will work on with their care manager.  Watch this video to learn more.

Other Skills

Description: Your teen will also learn about setting goals and routines, creating social support, and the effects of gratitude.

  • Supporting your teen throughout their mental health journey is extremely important and looking at all of the information provided here is the first step. They are trying to understand themselves and their thoughts and the best way to be able to relate and be a resource is to be open to experiencing and learning new things for their journey and your journey as their parent.


  • Practical steps to supporting your teen after a diagnosis
    • Be mindful of labels. No one wants to be defined by an illness.
    • Ask questions so you can understand rather than assume.
    • Emphasize they have a treatable medical condition and remain calm.
    • Stay positive by choosing words like “challenges” instead of “problems.
    • If your teen is on medication, inquire frequently about side effects they might be having.
    • Invite your teen to talk to you and ask questions. It’s ok to not know the answer, just say you don’t know and you can find out together.


  • Providing a safe environment is important when teens are struggling with mental health symptoms. Impulsivity and emotional dysregulation are normal developmentally, so caregivers can take extra steps to keep their teens safe. Here are a few suggestions
    • Overdoses are common and can be lethal. Only keep small quantities of medications accessible or consider keeping medications in a locked container. Regularly remove unused or expired medicine from the home.
    • Guns should be taken out of the home and/or secured in a locked safe.
    • As with medications, alcohol and other mind altering substances should be removed from the home or in a locked container.



  • Traumatic events in childhood are common and have lasting impact. Caregivers can help support teens as they learn to manage their emotions and reactions to the stressors of life. Read this article to learn how to help traumatized children.  


  • “After An Attempt” A practical guide developed for individuals who have attempted suicide, their family/friends, and for mental health professionals.


Supporting Yourself

  • Sometimes parenting can be difficult and resources are needed for you so that you are able support your child. Below you’ll find links organized by topic that can provide more information and resources. This link will give you access to parental support. The Parent Support Network – The Youth Mental Health Project

Alcohol/Substance Use

  • Dual Diagnosis of Oregon, Inc. (Although based in Oregon, offer support to those in other areas who wish to establish groups to help those who have both a mental health and alcohol/substance abuse condition)  

Other Addiction Support: CoSLAA Support groups for family and friends of people who have a sex addiction 

Anxiety Related Disorders: Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Anxiety and Depression Association of America peer-to-peer support group

ADHD: Attention Deficit Disorder Association

Cognitive Differences:

Caregiver Support: ARCH National Respite Network

Crisis Resources: 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

Food and Diet Behaviors: National Eating Disorders Association


Grief and Loss: The Compassionate Friends Grief Support: After the death of a child (Use this link to find groups in your area)

Peer Support:



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