Washington Post: We need to worry about the 20% of kids with mental illness

Mar 5, 2018, Washington Post: What’s wrong, and how do we help? Getting children the right mental-health support One in every 5 young people between the ages of 13 and 18 live with a mental-health condition — yet the average delay between the onset of symptoms and intervention is between eight and 10 years. Those statistics come from the National Institute of Mental Health, and they underscore the problems facing parents as well as educators who are raising and/or teaching children who have untreated mental illnesses. A new study in the March issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that more than half of the children in the United States who receive mental-health care now get it in school settings, and that if school-based personnel are properly trained and supported, such services can be effective. But many schools in high-poverty communities don’t have the resources to hire, train and support people who can provide these services to kids…. We used to think that only “at-risk” kids had mental-health problems. But if you are raising or educating children today, it’s understandable to worry about their emotional and psychological well being. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control report what many parents and people in education already know: “At risk” kids can be any kid, in any neighborhood, in any family…. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that 56 percent more teens experienced a major depressive episode in 2015 than 2010. Forty-six percent more 15-to-19-year-olds committed suicide in 2015 than in 2007 — and 2½ times as many 12-to-14-year-olds killed themselves.