Helping children cope with trauma

Most children grow up without a worry in the world – and their only concern is “what’s for dinner?” However, there are some whose lives aren’t as carefree as they should be. Perhaps an earlier traumatic event or accident is affecting their behavior. Washington University Physicians Trauma Response Program has been designed specifically to offer mental health support for children and their families to help them cope and recover.

John Constantino, MD, and Jennifer Holzhauer, MSW, LCSW, are co-directors of the Trauma Response Program. Dr. Constantino says, “The trauma of abuse, assault or accidents in childhood and adolescence may cause behavioral and emotional problems. These issues can continue into adulthood if not properly addressed by a professional.”

Common responses to trauma

  • Trouble sleeping or feeling safe
  • Worry that the trauma will happen again
  • Feeling guilty or responsible for the trauma
  • Feeling more angry and irritable
  • Avoiding things, people or places related to the trauma
  • Trying not to think or talk about the trauma

Holzhauer explains, “A mental health specialist meets with the child and family to review his or her condition, medical history and concerns about the traumatic event. After the child’s initial visit, the case is reviewed by a pediatric psychiatrist, and if appropriate, further evaluation and treatment are recommended.

We develop a treatment plan that is responsive to the child and family’s needs. The plan is implemented either through our team or a referral to a community agency. We also work in close collaboration with St. Louis Children’s Hospital.”

For more information, or to make an appointment, please call 314-286-0392.

Child Psychiatry Clinic
4444 Forest Park Ave, Suite 2600
St. Louis, MO 63110