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news News Wednesday, May 9, 2018 Wednesday, May 9, 2018 11:58 AM - Wednesday, May 9, 2018 11:58 AM

Highlighting psychological assistance during Mental Health Month

The Houston Shriners Hospital spotlights Nell Schwartz, Ph.D.

Highlighting psychological assistance during Mental Health Month

You might see her quietly strolling the Houston Shriners’ halls with a young patient by her side. She is constantly in and out of the therapy rooms, always ready to provide care for a child or their family. Clinical and Pediatric Psychologist Nell Schwartz, Ph.D., is one of Houston Shriners’ silent heroes.

May is Mental Health Month, and Shriners Hospitals for Children — Houston recognizes the significance of psychological assistance for patients and their families.

Children who receive care at Shriners Hospitals for Children—Houston are often subjected to subacute rehabilitation and that can create a stressful environment for a child already dealing with a health condition.

“I work with families to help them understand the effects of chronic illness and hospitalization on children at different age levels and give them tools to better support their children and to help with their own stress while they are in the hospital,” Schwartz said.

Dr. Schwartz’ goal is to increase patients' coping skills during hospitalization. Promoting healthy child and family functioning is an important part of the care provided at Shriners Hospital for Children — Houston. A lot of the care Dr. Schwartz provides is behavior management and behavioral consultation to staff when a child is having a tough time cooperating in therapy.

“Sometimes this is because of pain, sometimes it is because of fear of pain, and I work with children on pain management and anxiety management, which can also improve their ability to benefit from therapy,” said Schwartz.

Patients are often referred for pediatric psychology services by their physician. The length of time they receive consultation varies by patient.

“There are some children who maybe needed more intensive consultations than others while they have been in-house, and those are children that I will touch base with again the next time they are in-house,” said Schwartz. “I also get a lot of referrals from the clinic for kids who either will be seen short-term on an outpatient basis or, if they are not local, I sometimes facilitate and work with care coordination to help them find appropriate referrals in their community.”

Dr. Schwartz has been a clinical and pediatric psychologist at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Houston for nearly three years. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the Graduate School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. She was born in Greenville, Mississippi, but has spent most of her adult life in Houston.

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Houston is proud to have Dr. Schwartz head the psychology department. By promoting patient and family wellness and raising awareness for mental health, she continues to raise the standards of the hospital community.

“I don’t know whether families are aware when they first come in that there is a psychologist available, but nearly all families, when they are approached, are pleased to have the consultation,” said Schwartz.

Pictured: Nell Schwartz, Ph.D., Clinical and Pediatric Psychologist at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Houston

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