Mental health

Mental health of children

A child’s mental health is the state of physical and mental wellness that enables a child to go through important developmental stages to acquire necessary life skills and reach physical, mental and social maturity.

In addition to wellness, the concept of mental health also includes mental health issues, incl. mental disorders. Both hereditary and environmental factors, incl. life events causing continuous stress, play an important part in the development of mental disorders. Another important factor is the relationships surrounding children, especially between children and their parents.

This means that tackling children’s mental health problems requires cooperation between as many of the adults in their life as possible.

Child psychiatry focuses on mental disorder diagnosis and intervention planning. All of this is usually done by a team of specialists working together. Our team includes a children’s psychiatrist, a clinical children’s psychologist, a children’s neuropsychologist, a family therapist, a speech therapist, a special education teacher and an art therapist.

Evaluating a child’s cognitive functions

Cognitive functions are mental processes, which include for example, attention, sense, memory, problem solving, planning, concluding and categorising skills, discussion ability, spatial visualisation and constructive capabilities, language and speech functions, as well as visuomotor skills. These capabilities and skills are very important from the point of view of learning and coping with daily life. Deviations or defects in the described functions may lead to more serious coping and/or socio-emotional problems, learning difficulties and behavioural problems.

The determination of the initial causes of apparent problems is of utmost importance from the point of view of an appropriate diagnosis, treatment and intervention. We offer for this reason, to children, a thorough evaluation of cognitive functions. The examination of cognitive functions, depending on the child’s age, includes either general cognitive development (children up to the age of 7) or the precision of mental capacities (children and youths aged 7-18), as well as a more thorough evaluation of cognitive capabilities, (mapping of cognitive strengths and weaknesses). The evaluation of cognitive functions takes place during two meetings with a child’s neuropsychologist.

The strengths, apparent in the cognitive profile, of the child after evaluation, can be taken into consideration, for focusing on supporting the development of weaker functions, as well as teaching suitable compensatory means and techniques.

The evaluation of children’s cognitive functions consists of:

  • A clinical interview for evaluating the general condition and problems
  • Conducting of tests and the filling in of questionnaires
  • An analysis of the results and the compilation of an examination summary.

Good to know:

  • The profile examination of the cognitive development and cognitive capabilities of small children is performed for children aged 2,5 - 7 years
  • A general mental capacity and cognitive capabilities profile examination is performed for children and youths aged 7 - 18 years
  • Take with you glasses or hearing aids, if you use them
  • Take with you the results of previous examinations, if you have done them before
  • Take with you the letter of referral, if a psychiatrist, neurologist or a rehabilitation doctor has provided you with one
  • We recommend coming to the examination fresh and rested
  • The duration of the examination depends on personal capacities and general speed of response. The average duration of the initial meeting is 2 hours
  • A separate meeting takes place for giving feedback on the examination results. A suitable time is agreed upon with the patient, if desired.
    The feedback duration is up to 30 minutes, at a cost of 50 €
Price 280 €
Duration 180 minutes
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  • Mari-Liis KaldojaMari-Liis Kaldoja

Mari-Liis Kaldoja

Estonian, English
  • Mari-Liis KaldojaMari-Liis Kaldoja

Mari-Liis Kaldoja

Estonian, English

Child’s neuropsychologist’s consultation

Neuropsychology is focused on understanding and studying the relationships between the brain and behaviour. Clinical neuropsychology tries to specify, for example, how the functioning and health of the brain influence a person’s emotions, behaviour and cognitive capabilities (e.g. studying, memory, attention, problem solving skills). A child’s neuropsychologist is thus a mental health specialist, who has in-depth knowledge about neuropsychology, clinical psychology, neurology, development psychology, as well as appropriate intervention and rehabilitation possibilities.

A child’s neuropsychologist consults children, parents and if need be also kindergarten/school teachers and supporting specialists, about the coping difficulties related to the most common neuropsychological disorders and problems (e.g. ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, epilepsy, brain injuries, as well as socio-emotional and behavioural disorders).

The child’s neuropsychologist will, if needed, evaluate a child’s cognitive and socio-emotional development, as well as map the child’s strengths and fields requiring developmental support (the costs of the examinations are in addition to the consultation and a separate time is agreed upon for the examinations), using a clinical interview, observation, questionnaires and standardised tests.

An individual support and intervention plan is designed for the child, in cooperation with the child, the parent(s), as well as if needed and desired by the parent, with teachers of schools/kindergartens and supporting specialists. The process may include, if needed, a child’s psychiatrist, special education teacher and speech therapist.

We recommend a neuropsychological consultation if a child shows signs of:

  • Attention and/or concentration problems
  • Self-control difficulties
  • Memory and studying related problems
  • Peculiarities in adapting and/or social interaction

The child’s neuropsychologist’s consultation is also recommended to those parents who are worried about their child’s general cognitive development and/or socio-emotional development and feel the need for advice, as well as directions, on how to better support the child’s development.

Price 100 €
Duration 60 minutes
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Child’s psychiatrist’s consultation

A psychiatrist for children and youths (hereafter “child’s psychiatrist”) generally deals with the diagnostics and treatment of children and youths up to the age of 18, with psychic and behavioural disorders.

The main method of examination of the psychiatrist is a psychiatric interview, with the child, as well as his/her parents (or legal representative). The child’s psychiatrist, for making a more complete evaluation may refer the child/youth to another specialist, (clinical psychologist, speech therapist, special education teacher, family therapist). Additionally he/she may ask the child’s/youth’s kindergarten/school teacher for an opinion. The intervention and treatment methods are individual and need based. They depend, thus foremost on the nature and severity of the child’s mental health problem.

It is recommended to turn to a child’s psychiatrist, if the problems listed below hinder a child’s/youth’s daily wellbeing and age specific coping.

We recommend turning to a child’s psychiatrist if a child shows:

  • Changes in mood (relative to the customary depressed, elevated or fickle mood)
  • Lack of interest and vitality (incl. suicide thoughts and plans)
  • Excessive anxiety (incl. different fears)
  • Communication difficulties
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Difficulties regulating emotions
  • Excessive activeness and impulsive responsiveness
  • Forced thoughts and behaviour
  • Expressed changes in eating habits
  • Expressed changes in rhythm of sleeping and being awake
  • Unusual sensory experiences (illusionary hearing or vision, sense of reality disorders etc.)
  • Difficulty studying, in which case it is foremost recommended to turn to the Rajaleidja centre
Initial appointment 180 €
Duration 90 minutes
Recurring appointment 130 €
Duration 60 minutes
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  • Dr Irina SahnjukDr Irina Sahnjuk

Dr Irina Sahnjuk

Child’s psychiatrist
Estonian, Russian, English, Finnish
More about the specialist »
  • Triin-Ketlin SiskaTriin-Ketlin Siska
  • Karin LättKarin Lätt

Triin-Ketlin Siska

Psychologist, family therapist
Estonian, Russian, English
More about the specialist »

Karin Lätt

Clinical psychologist, psychotherapist
Estonian, English
More about the specialist »

Family therapy

Systematic family therapy is centred on the relationships and their quality of persons closest to one another. The aim of family therapy is to support understanding between people, emotional support and intimacy.

Often people need support, when coping with changes that occur during life (birth of a child, going to kindergarten/school, adolescence, independence of a young adult, divorce, loss of a family member, grief etc.). Such developmental crisis may cause problems, for example, anxiety and depression, overworking, stress, eating disorders, different addictions, domestic violence, problems related to sexuality, as well as psychic, behavioural and educational problems of children and youths.

Passing through these stages in life, creates a need for redistributing roles and duties, as well as changes in care and emotional intimacy. Children and youth are especially sensitive.

Family therapy treats a family as a system, where changes in one part cause changes throughout the system. A family therapist helps provoke change in the system to be cured. Changes may occur in the behaviour of family members, emotional or psychic conditions, relationships or the general functioning of the family.

Good to know

  • Family therapy takes place predominately in the form of conversation, in which all family members have the possibility to express themselves openly and make themselves heard.
  • The therapy often includes, for better results, all close ones of significance.
  • We recommend that children turn to family therapy first with their parents or that all other closest relatives turn together.
  • It is important to go through the entire therapy process, in order to achieve lasting change. The required number of sessions depends on the aims set and may vary from one time per week to one session per one to two months.

Price 90 €
Duration 90 minutes
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Individual art therapy

Creative arts therapy is a reasoned, target based and planned activity in psychotherapeutic treatment and rehabilitation, where in a clearly defined client-therapist relationship creative and art based methods and techniques are applied, approached from aims based on the client’s condition of health.

Creative arts therapy creates a possibility for two parallel channels of communication, which:

  • Allow for communication is situations where verbal communication is restricted, hindered, not desired or impossible
  • Creates an opportunity, in addition to a clinical interview, to receive additional information, which is used for diagnostic purposes
  • Creates an opportunity, through a creative process, to reach important resources and furthering solutions, which might not reveal themselves in verbal communication.

Visual arts therapy is a branch of creative arts therapy. It is a form of therapy, where together with the client, visual art means and techniques are used. The means use different colours, clay, photos, graphics, painting, making sculptures, photographing and filming. The aim of the therapy is to help the client improve coping with one’s life. The concrete aims depend on the individual needs of the client.

To whom do we recommend art therapy?

  • Suitable for different clients, from small children to senior citizens
  • We recommend it for children who have difficulties studying, emotional and/or behavioural problems
  • Suitable for youths and adults, who suffer from chronic stress and burn out
  • In case of mood disorders
  • Supporting coping with chronical illnesses
  • In case of adjustment difficulties and reduced self-evaluation
  • Creating awareness of emotions/thoughts, when coping with changes in life
  • We also recommend it in the case of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia

What is good to know about art therapy?

  • Creative arts therapy applies the tri-relationship principle: therapist-client-artistic creation
  • It does not assume experience dealing with art, drawing skills
  • Supports spontaneous self expression
  • The therapist does not diagnose the client based on the art work: art is the client’s creation and the therapist is a partner, who helps understand the client’s inner world
Price 50 €
Duration 60 minutes
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Grete Siimut

Grete Siimut

Art therapist
Estonian, English