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Detroit News: Mental health/trauma training vital for parents and teachers

Aug 22, 2017, The Detroit News: Column: Children’s mental health critical http://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/2017/08/22/column-childrens-mental-health-critical/104837594/ Children’s mental health is one of the most important and most misunderstood issues in our national healthcare debate. Today, mental health care represents 38 percent of children’s Medicaid spending, which is used by just 10 percent of juvenile Medicaid patients. But the benefits far outweigh the costs. ... ...Within schools, mental health issues are often mistaken for discipline problems, learning disabilities, academic struggles, and ADHD. Later, these issues may lead to addiction, incarceration and unemployment. The long-term effects are especially concerning for children exposed to trauma. Ongoing trauma can change the chemistry of the brain and the body, leading to increased lifetime risks of chronic health conditions including cancer, heart disease, substance abuse, and other issues. … As we pursue quality care, we must do more to integrate children’s mental health care with other systems, including physical health systems. We can deliver highly effective treatment when behavioral health professionals work with physicians in their offices to treat the whole child. Furthermore, we must increase connections with parents and teachers – the adults who care for children every day. That is why Starfish now trains its teachers to provide “trauma-informed” education for its early childhood students, over half of whom have at least one indicator of trauma. ...