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Many children with mental health problems remain untreated

Many children with mental health problems remain untreated

By Sarah Collins
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 29, 2021 (HealthDay News) – More than half of high-risk children in the United States do not receive behavioral health services to support their mental, emotional, and physical well-being, a new study has warned.

“It’s pretty easy and very agreed, knowing that there are a lot of kids at risk, when you look at the difficulties or symptoms, that you don’t get mental health services, behavioral health services, would be beneficial, ”said research author David Finkelhor, who directs the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.

Lack of treatment for children who struggle depression, anxiety and / or various experiences against childhood are more serious among children of parents with only high school education and among children of color. Black children are the least likely to access behavioral health services.

“The bottom line is that we should really do a lot more to try to facilitate services for this segment of the population,” Finkelhor said.


A notable citation of the study was that high-risk children who do not have traditional family structures received much more than their peers. mental health services.

For the study, the researchers looked at the results of three national surveys on exposure to child violence, a group of nearly 12,000 children between the ages of 10 and 17 and caregivers of children between the ages of 2 and 9. the young at-risk respondents went without any support.

The report was published online a year ago JAMA open network.

Dr. Tarik Hadzic says children, adolescents, and adults can have a long-term impact on services. psychiatrist In Los Angeles, he did not participate in the investigation.

“They are small children. Half of this group [aged] The 2 to 9 year olds were the 5 to 5 year olds, “Hadzic said.” These are the main times in a child’s development brain, when an early intervention can have a positive effect on both appearances [mental health issues and adverse childhood experiences]. From now on you can have an impact on both your physical and physical condition, as children with untreated mental health problems will be more likely to be more mature. ”


He also noted that almost two-thirds of young people aged 10 to 17 with mental health problems and poor childhood experiences have not received care, which could lead to other negative outcomes.

“That’s also worrying,” Hadzic said. “This includes adolescence, especially later adolescence, when they tend to have civil liability for crimes, and when they act more often. suicide behavior, for example, causes death. That can be completely avoided. They are not being identified. I don’t see them. “

Lost diagnosis of the situation of children of color is a problem, as revealed in another recently published study JAMA open network. He showed differences in the identification and treatment of attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder among Asian, Black, and Hispanic children. Lack of resources in lower-income communities, previous negative experiences with medical professionals, and poor practices against people of color are also factors.

To top it all off, the surveys reviewed for recent research were completed in 2008, 2011 and 2014. According to some metrics, the COVID-19 pandemic period has been very difficult for children, and high-risk children are more likely to be traumatized.


“In my practice, I see a lot more children and teens who get depressed,” Hadzic said. “Isolation is clearly a risk factor for depression. We know this because, we know, fair isolation is a deadly pandemic, but a lot of kids are basically cut off. And they find almost no digital interaction. It’s significant with friends. So I think pandemics it definitely complicates the universal projection.It makes the identification of children [adverse childhood] events are more difficult “.

If professionals become more likely to identify high-risk children, treatment can help the affected child considerably. Finkelhor and his colleagues have made suggestions to expand the necessary clinical relationship.

“We need to train more people to provide these types of services,” Finkelhor said. “We need to offer them in more convenient places, like schools, and with medical practices. We need to package them to get less stigma. We need to advertise some of the new procedures and techniques we have. We need to make sure the new services are most effective and especially evidence-based that they are all trained in them. “


Finkelhor advocated the use of the arts and exercise to help children cope with depression, anxiety, and trauma.

More information

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to learn more mental health in children.

SOURCES: Dr. David Finkelhor, Professor, Sociology and Director, Crimes Against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH; Tarik Hadzic, MD, PhD, child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist, Los Angeles; JAMA open network, March 15, 2021, online

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