Dial Up Some Help
free Kids HelpLine offers parents guidance
No one said parenting would be easy. To support parents and caregivers in the ups and downs and “I-don’t-knows” of childrearing, Luther Midelfort offers a free Kids HelpLine for those concerned about their child’s or adolescent’s well-being.
Since its beginning in 2004, the HelpLine has been staffed by specially trained nurses who answer callers’ questions, provide information, explain treatment options, and even arrange appointments with caregivers when necessary. Kristine Devine-McKillip, a registered nurse who fields phone calls, says that before this service, such calls would have landed in a range of offices, so the help line standardizes the evaluation and referral of children’s behavioral health issues and allows a select number of staff to coordinate care using a variety of departments.
The topics that caregivers call about vary, but the most common questions relate to symptoms of depression, anxiety, autism, ADD, and ADHD. Though parenting can be daunting, Devine-McKillip says the help line is important for “just being available for the parents to talk about their concerns and kind of mull over what is appropriate and what isn’t and what services might be available.” The Help Line number is 838-5633, and is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm.