Mental Health Coordinator/Guidance? Is our plan on the right path

I have a 16 year old who has generalized anxiety and depression for 3 years or so. He has big issues around executive functioning and sensory issues. He is on a low level anti anxiety med. We have tried various psychologists through Kaiser who did not really connect with him. We have tested for ASD (at his request). He does not have ASD and tested at 99% on intelligence tests. We tried a private psychologist in the spring/summer to try CBT and it was not a fit/help for him. He is a great smart loving kid with good friends. 

He is not functioning well at all. Covid has ramped up his anxiety/depression and he is unable to turn in much school work although he goes to all classes and participates in class. His excellent independent school is working with him, offering to drop classes, coach/tutor and or have the kids who are having issues in a on site/inperson but zoom classes in a school building. He rejects all of this. If he cannot pass this semester, he will likely be asked to take a medical leave. He loves his school and leaving will leave him more depressed.

Kaiser is supposed to reset him up with another psychologist in the next few weeks and do a medication reevaluation. I have reached out to a group of psychologists locally and he is set up to see the group next month and likely be tested for inattentive ADHD.

Here is my question: Is there someone who can review what's been done and aim us in the right direction (quickly). I feel like a failure. I've been spinning wheels for a few years over this and his issues are only getting worse. Covid is a big part of it, but not all of it. Is there someone who is a consultant who can tell if we are on the right track? I am aware of NAMI, but I can't do anything in a group setting, my son doesn't want his issues out other than in a private setting. I feel like I need a mental health consultant like you would have for other issues to give oversight and a plan. Luckily, I can afford to go outside Kaiser. But I feel lost what to do other than what I have. 

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

Sorry your son is struggling! Do you know about Summit Center in Walnut Creek? We had a one-time consult with Dr Peters (Dr. Dan) years ago. He looked at the testing my son had done through the school district and helped us make a plan. They specialize in gifted and 2e kids. (They also offer ongoing therapy etc). Good luck!

Hi - I'm so sorry you are dealing with this stressful situation. We have had similar experiences earlier with our (now) 16 year old (starting at 1st grade and still dealing with lagging homework but a much better attitude).  I recommend contacting Carrie Lindemuth (I hope she is still in the consulting business) at clindemuth [at] or  Carrie was the key that unlocked our many-year journey on figuring out what was "wrong" with our smart, kind, unhappy, academically frustrated kid. You can contact me if you like.

I'm so sorry your son is having such a hard time. ADHD sounds like a likely fit. I have two referrals to offer, for people who have been very helpful to our family:

Michael Theufkauf (mtheurkauf [at] is an educational therapist and academic coach who works with teens who have difficulty with executive functioning. He's offering remote sessions these days. He commonly works with very bright teens who have difficulty functioning.

Thomas Zurfluh (‭, 415-789-8383)‬ is a psychologist who offers both therapy and neuropsychological evaluations. I don't know if he would be able to provide the service you're looking for, but I think he could be a good person to talk to about your situation and get some advice and perhaps referrals. He's extremely kind and insightful and works with teens.

You are not a failure! You're a loving mom trying to get your child the help he needs. It is genuinely difficult to find effective psychological/psychiatric help. Fit is everything. It can be such a struggle to find the right person/team, but when you finally find them, it can make all the difference in the world. Please don't lose heart--there is hope!

What your son is going through is fairly common, but hard to pinpoint exactly what is going on.  We went to Bay Area Children's Association (BACA) located in Berkeley and San Jose.  They were amazing in helping us get to the root of the issues with our child and she was also 16 when we discover that she was suffering from 3 forms of anxiety and depression.  She started one on one therapy and meds.  Now she is 22 and ready to graduate college.  While she has her moments with both depression and anxiety, she has the tools to move forward and not suffer as she did in the past.  She is successful in her life.  Our relationship with her change greatly in understanding what she suffers from and we ourselves have learned about supporting her and us.  We were always a close family, but we are much closer now and we credit a large part of this with working with BACA.  

One of the best days of my life was when my son graduated from high school, as it looked like he wouldn't.  The diagnosis he received (besides depression) was ADHD.  ADHD symptoms overlap with ASD symptoms (could google if interested).  Ask those psychologists next steps, whether or not they diagnose ADHD.  It also took us years to successfully address the issues.  For my son it was very important to believe he had a bright future, so he could have hope and not give up.  My best wishes to your son and you.