DocTalk: Keeping children mentally healthy

May is mental health awareness month. At Midtown Health Center we take mental health very seriously as we have therapists, medication providers, a psychologist and four case managers to help anyone in their journey. This month our behavioral health team is focusing on the importance of mental health in children.

For most children, school has ended meaning their regular schedules and routines are on a hiatus. Midtown’s Chief Behavioral Health Officer and licensed psychologist Dr. Josh Turek said parents should continue to provide children with structure during the summer months.

“Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule from day to day is important,” Dr. Turek said, as is daily physical activity. He suggests parents limit their children’s electronic access around bedtime as well to help children and adolescents fall asleep more easily.

Dr. Turek and Todd Brooks, Midtown’s Lead Case Manager, both agree that giving children regular social interactions can improve their mental health during summertime. Increasing the opportunities for social interaction is important, especially in teens, Dr. Turek said.

Brooks suggested local programs such as the Norfolk YMCA, Norfolk Arts Center, The Zone After School Program and the Norfolk Public Library all have summer programs to help children combat boredom. Dr. Turek also encourages parents of younger children to read with their students to provide opportunities for the children to maintain reading skills gained during the school year.

“Parents should monitor their children and adolescents for any signs their mental health may be deteriorating, such as low mood/sadness/irritability for more than two weeks, a lack of interest in fun activities, unexpected social withdrawal, or increased anxiety,” Dr. Turek said. If parents notice any of these signs, it may be time to speak with their primary care provider or a behavioral health provider about treatment options.

During the school year, Midtown offers counseling in the elementary schools. “All of the students who receive in-school counseling services through (Midtown) are encouraged and welcome to continue services during the summer within the clinic,” Brooks said. “This takes away much of the conveniences of in-school services, but helps to continue providing the students support during the summer.”

As always, Midtown’s behavioral health team is here to help any student that finds themselves in need during the summer months as well.


Midtown Health Center’s DocTalk is a collaborative effort of the Dr. Emily Vuchetich, Chief Medical Officer; Dr. David Seger, Chief Dental Officer; Dr. Josh Turek, Chief Behavioral Health Officer as well as Midtown’s other providers. For a full list of Midtown’s providers as well as more information about Midtown please visit