Search

Georgia: State commission to address children's mental health

Aug 9, 2017, Dalton (GA) Daily Citizen: New state commission on children's mental health could have wide-ranging positive impact http://www.daltondailycitizen.com/opinion/columns/melanie-dallas-new-state-commission-on-children-s-mental-health/article_aee1ea65-c02d-5934-b413-b5ffeca75e52.html In June, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal created a Commission on Children’s Mental Health, which met for the first time in July. More than addressing identified needs for children with mental health challenges, this initiative has the potential to impact one of the governor’s other key issues, criminal justice reform. ... But what does a children’s mental health commission have to do with criminal justice reform? Quite a bit, actually. One in four people develop a mental illness in his or her lifetime, and half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14. Further, children with mental illness are more likely to receive lower grades, miss more school and drop out altogether. While predicting what factors might ultimately lead to criminal behavior is complex, we know that approximately one-third, and by some estimates up to one-half, of individuals who are incarcerated have mental illness — a rate that is substantially higher than the population as a whole. …