Are America’s Kids In the Midst of a Mental Health Crisis?
So many of us have such fond memories of childhood that it is easy to forget not all kids grow up in ideal situations. We forget that there are a lot of children struggling across the country. Many children are struggling with mental health issues, in addition to all the rest that life has to throw at them. Are things bad enough for America’s youth that we could say they face a mental health crisis? It is beginning to look that way.
We obviously don’t know how your organization addresses behavioral health management. We don’t know what services you offer, how those services are implemented, or who it is you serve. But we are willing to bet that any facility offering mental health services for kids has seen a steady increase in demand over the last few years.
In a recent article discussing mental health challenges among North Carolina youth, WRAL News cited federal statistics suggesting that 25% of young people nationwide experience some sort of behavioral or mental health issue in grade school. That is an astounding statistic. One in every four school age children in the U.S. faces at least one mental health challenge during those formative years. How many experience ongoing issues?
Not Getting the Help They Need
The WRAL report went on to say that North Carolina students in need of mental or behavioral health assistance are not getting the help they need. So the state has decided to do something about it. Officials are planning to increase funding, support “mental health first aid”, and expand access to telehealth services in schools. There is a plan to spend upwards of $100 million to increase the total number of social workers and nurses working in public schools.
North Carolina officials recognize that placing guidance counselors in schools isn’t enough. They have come to realize that children with mental and behavioral health issues need more specialized care from professionals who are trained in mental health. Most of all, they are willing to invest in strategies designed to improve the situation.
Mental Health Around the Country
Officials in North Carolina recognize a mental health crisis among the youth in their state. But what about the rest of the country? It is a safe bet that the same crisis is being repeated in state after state. North Carolina is by no means alone. At every turn, America’s youth are facing challenges their parents and grandparents never knew. Many are struggling.
It is incumbent upon mental health management companies to get behind the effort to improve services for kids. Anyone involved in mental health management should take a personal interest in this particular topic. We all know that children are the future. But if we don’t take care of them in the here and now, that future will not look as bright as it otherwise could.
A priority for mental health management ought to be increasing access to services at the local level. Whether those services are provided through the school system, local behavioral health providers, or any other means, kids in crisis need access to help. So do their parents. It’s not enough to simply talk about taking care of our kids. We have to actually do it.
Time will tell if the plans being implemented in North Carolina reap good results. In the meantime, here’s hoping other states follow their lead. Here’s hoping both the public and private sectors recognize the very real possibility that America’s kids are facing a mental health crisis like never before. And here is hoping that real solutions come with recognition of the crisis.
Let’s Get to Work, Together
Contact us to learn more about how Horizon Health can help you start a behavioral health program or take an existing program to new heights.