National Alliance on Mental Illness
page printed from
(800) 950-NAMI;

NAMI Basics: Ask the Doctor

As part of the NAMI Basics Education Program curriculum development, NAMI’s Medical Director, Dr. Ken Duckworth, answers a few of the most commonly asked questions by parents and other caregivers of children and adolescents with mental illness.  Dr. Duckworth’s responses to 28 different questions can be viewed by clicking on the video clip beneath each question.

Video Clips

Can children and adolescents really develop mental illness, and what is mental illness?

How do I know if my child is really having a problem, or if it is just a phase, and when do I seek help?

What is the best way for me to work with the mental health professionals caring for my child?

Why is there disagreement between the experts about mental illness in children and adolescents?

Why does the diagnosis frequently change for my child?

What kind of future can my child expect, living with a mental illness?

What kind of treatment is available for my child once we have a diagnosis?

What are the issues surrounding using medications to treat mental illness in children?

What does the black box warning against using antidepressant medications to treat children and adolescents mean?  Are antidepressants the only medications that the FDA has placed a black box warning on?

What role does the parent play on the treatment team?

What are the consequences of not treating mental illness once it is diagnosed?

Describe Mood Disorders in Children and Adolescents

Describe Bipolar Disorder in Children and Adolescents

Describe ADD/ADHD in Children and Adolescents

Describe Childhood Schizophrenia

Describe Anxiety in Children and Adolescents

Describe Eating Disorders in Children and Adolescents

Why is my child so oppositional?

Children and Adolescents who consider suicide

Does mental illness look the same in every child?

What kind of activities can help my child, in addition to treatment?

Is social prejudice, stigma, a barrier to parents seeking help for their children?

What does my child need from me to help them get through this?

What is NAMI, and how can NAMI’s educational programs help me, as a parent?

Who is Dr. Duckworth?

Are there other medical conditions that can  look like mental illness?

Parents' response to receiving a diagnosis of mental illness.

What should I expect from my child’s school?

For more information on the NAMI Basics Education Program, please visit, phone the HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI(6264) or email