To assist the youth and their family to feel comfortable during the first appointment, it is a good idea to cover the basic information:
- Where is the appointment located?
Provide the location and address of where the youth and/or family will be going. Consider printing instructions from Google maps or mapquest (www.mapquest.ca).
- How do they get there?
Transportation can be an issue – assist with arrangements if needed. If this is not your role, find out who would have this responsibility (ensure you have consent to contact other agencies and services).
- When do they need to be there?
Write down the date and time of the appointment for the youth and family.
- Who can they contact at the facility?
Provide the phone contact information for the practitioner they will be seeing. If they need to, they can call independently and ask for more information.
- What is the purpose of the appointment?
Inform the youth and family why they are attending the appointment. Generally, first appointments are about assessment and information gathering, and may be an opportunity for the family to get comfortable and ask questions. Ongoing appointments can be different – they are often about more specific issues, as well as strategies and activities aimed at helping.
- What information will they need to provide?
Questionnaires and history taking are often a part of first appointments. While families usually need to provide some history information, kids and teens may be asked to fill out questionnaires regarding their stresses or other issues. Youth and families should feel free to ask about any information shared, such as who will see the information and what are the confidentiality rules.
- How long will it take?
Give it time. Sometimes kids, teens and families feel like nothing helpful happened during the first meeting. It can be helpful to know that it often takes time for help to become clear. Encourage them to keep trying.
If possible and appropriate, you may offer to accompany them to the first appointment, to provide support and encouragement.