The devastating statistics on teen suicide are startling, and should be taken seriously by any parent, especially if your child has existing mental health issues. Suicide is, sadly, the second leading cause of death (after traffic fatalities) for teenagers in the U.S., accounting for eight deaths per 100,000 teens.
Think back on when a friend or loved one has had a significant health setback. When we speak with that friend, we often ask for the physical details of their condition and then inevitably, we pose a variation of this question, “How are your spirits?” Why do we ask that? Well, it seems that we all have an intrinsic idea that the health of mind has an important correlation to the well being of the physical self. Even with this seemingly recognized connection, medical health care and mental health care have historically been separated. As the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health points out, “The physical health care system is not set up to address behavioral health problems, and the mental health and substance abuse treatment systems are not set up to address medical problems.” Until now. Lately, there has been a push for collaboration between the two disciplines.
Our article from April 6 shared compelling information from a recent survey that parents in our community don’t know where to turn when their child struggles with a mental health issue. Many said that they would visit a local ER, not knowing that the vast majority of ERs in our community don’t offer psychiatric services. As a result an estimated 1,300 children have been boarded for hours without care. This week, we share the results of medical professionals and their thoughts on mental health services in our community.