American News Update

News

Improvement needed on mental health care for children

Improvement needed on mental health care for children
May 09
15:07 2018

http://goseetheeclipse.com/?p=456 With today’s students experiencing anxiety about everything from high-stakes testing to school shootings, it is no wonder that schools are seeing an increasing need for mental-health care.

Following the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, schools across Florida saw an increase in students sent for emergency mental health examinations. The data suggest children were fearful and upset after the shooting while school officials were also more vigilant in getting treatment for children who might pose a threat to others, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

The Florida Legislature’s response to the shooting included approving $69 million for improving mental health services in schools. But state lawmakers have long short-changed overall mental health funding and gave schools little additional discretionary money this year, so a significant need remains for increased mental-health services and related programs for young people.

Both Santa Fe College and the University of Florida have seen steady increases in recent years in students coming to their counseling centers, The Sun recently reported. Santa Fe Counseling Center Director Laura Zwelling told The Sun that she is seeing more students who have been under pressure since elementary and high school, some of whom have been on psychotropic medications since a young age despite the effects of those drugs on children not being well researched.

With Thursday being National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, and local schools promoting the wearing of green to mark the occasion, now is a good time to consider ways to better support the mental health of students. As students face stress from testing and school-safety concerns as well as problems related to technology and traumatic experiences, the effects on their long-term mental health need to be better considered and understood.

One in five children has a mental health condition but only half are receiving proper treatment, according to national studies. Research also shows that people with significant mental illnesses are far more likely to be victims of crime than perpetrators of it, so increasing mental-health funding only in response to a school shooting is a backward approach.

Here in Gainesville we’re fortunate to have officials and mental health advocates who have long been working to increase mental-health awareness and fill gaps in care. The Alachua County Public Schools’ System of Care program and the Community Partnership School are among the ways students in need are getting counseling and other services.

Groups such as Peace4Gainesville and the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding have helped build understanding of the effects of childhood trauma and ways to address it. The Children’s Trust initiative on the November ballot would provide needed funding for local children’s programs that could include mental health services.

One positive reason for increasing demand for children’s mental-health services might be that there is less of a stigma today for getting such care than in the past. Long after National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is over, our community should continue encouraging young people to get the care they need while working to ensure that care is available when they need it.

buy accutane online canada Share

About Author

American News Update

American News Update

Related Articles