The Doctors share the alarming statistic that approximately 1 in 5 children suffer from a diagnosable mental, emotional or behavioral disorder and in many cases, there are not enough resources to help these young people. According to studies, up to 17 million children will be affected by mental health disorders before the age of 18.
We met mom Natania, who says she experienced the lack of resources available for children's mental health in her home state of North Carolina. She says her 11-year-old son Liam is autistic and has disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD). She shares that he recently had what his school dubbed a "psychotic break" and he was admitted to the emergency room. She says he spent 10 days in the ER as there were no spaces available in a mental health facility to treat her son. She goes on to say he was then admitted to facility located hours from their home and she reveals she was only allowed to speak with him for a few minutes a day. He was discharged a week later and she says Liam returned "incredibly overmedicated," and claims he was put on tranquilizers and antipsychotic medications. Natania is happy to share that Liam is now at a new school and says he now on a new medication regiment and "doing really well."
Psychiatrist Dr. Domenick Sportelli says one reason this is an issue is that for the 17 million kids with a mental health needs that there are only approximately 8,000 child psychiatrists in the entire country to treat them, and often many never even receive the treatment they need.
The Doctors note that America spends more money on health care than any other country, but the portion the country spends on mental health is very small. Clinical psychologist Dr. Judy Ho also acknowledges that this crisis is also rooted in the under-identification of mental health problems in kids and says she hopes we collectively work harder to remove the stigmas regarding mental health issues.