Children in the USA have a Child-Adolescent Mental Health Services system that is very complex. It addresses issues such as high rates of behavior problems, various mental health disorders, criminal behavior, substance abuse and other risk behaviors like school truancy and family conflict (Stiffman et al., 2010). The system has many difficulties addressing such issues successfully because of the complexities of the youths and the myriad of problems they confront. Thus, a revisit to child mental healthcare requires a review of scorecards, addressing possible actions and giving best recommendations to save the children.
Children's mental healthcare is just like keeping children from cold or breaking a bone while playing. While the basis for other forms of child care is clear, the foundation for mental health is never clear. Thus, a child's mental health requires much attention than ever before. The effects of mental illness and addictions can roll out an entire lifespan (Lipari, Hedden, Blau & Rubenstein, 2016). Studies show that nearly 705 of mental health problems are evident in children especially at the age of adolescence. For example, in Ontario, one in five children between the age of four and sixteen experience some form of mental health problems. However, only one in six of the children and youth receive specialized treatment they require. Therefore, all medical practitioners in the USA must focus and find possible solutions to the proper provision of mental health care to the US children (Stiffman et al., 2010).
Key Current Considerations
Before any form of action, there is a need for several medics to get knowledge of what the scorecard provides. First, children from neighborhoods with highest-income have higher prevalence rates of mental illness as compared to children from lowest-income neighborhoods (Stiffman et al., 2010). Some of the most upper cases experienced are high rates of suicide amongst youths aged 10-24 in both low-income and high-income neighborhoods (Lipari, Hedden, Blau & Rubenstein, 2016). Also, there have been cases of emergency department visits for deliberate self-harm as well as the use of acute mental healthcare services amongst youths of the same age bracket. Many cases of schizophrenia have also been reported from the age of 0-24 (Lipari, Hedden, Blau & Rubenstein, 2016).
Other reports show that babies born of young mothers from lowest-income neighborhoods have a much higher rate of neonatal abstinence syndrome. This syndrome is typically observed in babies with opioids mothers (Lipari, Hedden, Blau & Rubenstein, 2016). In some states, children have shown highest-rates of behavioral issues from educational system report.
There is also an observation that use of mental health services and prevalence varies by immigration status. Those who visit the emergency department because of deliberate self-harm were high for refugees than non-refugee immigrants (Lipari, Hedden, Blau & Rubenstein, 2016). Most of the refugee children exhibit high rates if schizophrenia, high acute care revisit rates and many more. The rates of overall mental health physician-visits have also changed.
Prevalence rates for some disorders have increased over time. For example, between the 2011-2012, there was four times increase in the prevalence of neonatal abstinence syndrome (Lipari, Hedden, Blau & Rubenstein, 2016). Notably, there are many emergency department visits and hospitalization for anxiety disorders.
The psychiatrist visits also vary according to a geographical region with a confirmed increased psychiatrist visits by children over time. Despite that, significant regional differences have been recorded across the US. Children and youth from highest-income neighborhood often go to psychiatrists more than children from low-income communities.
Even while these visits take place, most physician-based mental health and addiction services are not aligned with what the children need. Most regions have shown high rates of cases like substance abuse, neonatal abstinence syndrome, hospital admissions, emergency department visits, suicide, and behavioral issues. When the children visit the mental; health facilities, they experience most extended wait times.
Options to Address the Issue
One of the possibilities for transforming children's mental health care services is to develop a system based on three principles:
- A mental health facility meant to meet the needs of children entirely,
- Care for children in the right place at the right time, and
- A high quality, evidence-based services starting from the classroom to the hospital.
Thus, all the health authorities ought to set clear expectations as to what a child should expect regarding mental health support (Lipari, Hedden, Blau & Rubenstein, 2016). There should be consistency in every state in the country together with the people to take responsibility.
Inset clear expectations to transform the provision of mental healthcare services:
- Every child should benefit from the knowledge shared about mental health starting from the school environment. This will help every child to develop emotional resilience.
- The system should also be in such a way that any child can access early support for problems when they first start to emerge (parenting support and short courses on therapy).
- For severe cases, a child should be able to access high-quality and specialist support with clear waiting time standards.
If there is a need for evident clinical in-patient care, children can access without delays and long waiting hours. Thus, inpatient services should be integrated with community services
Possible Actions to Address Children Mental Healthcare
There is a need to increase the number of health services and providers of mental health treatment services.
Specialized services such as Psychosocial Community Care Center for Children and Adolescents will help in handling severe cases since such services are insufficient and unequally distributed.
Because the majority already have access to primary healthcare, further planning can be helpful in equipping the mental healthcare centers to meet children's needs. Well-equipped mental healthcare centers will help address the high number of emergency department visits.
Additional training for psychiatrists, psychologists and pediatricians could help optimize capabilities. This will help increase the patient-medic ratio in healthcare centers and reduce the long waiting time that children and youth experience.
States and local authorities should put low-level mental health issues amongst children as their priority. They should use public financing to support early intervention and emerging needs.
The states should develop clear stator guidelines that outline the minimum level of provision.
There should as well be a report on what services the states and local authorities are offering alongside costs.
Medical practitioners should continue monitoring trends and make observational reports on the prevalence rates for Children's Mental Healthcare.
There is a need for specialized services such as Psychosocial Community Care Center for Children and Adolescents to help in handling severe cases since such services are insufficient and unequally distributed
Kelleher, K., Taylor, J., and Rickert, V. (1992). Mental health services for rural children and adolescents. Clinical Psychology Review, 12(8), pp.841-852
Lipari, R. N., Hedden, S., Blau, G., & Rubenstein, L. (2016). The CBHSQ report: Adolescent mental health service use and reasons for using services in specialty, educational, and general medical settings. Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_1973/ShortReport-1973.html
Paula, C., Lauridsen-Ribeiro, E., Wissow, L., Bordin, I. and Evans-Lacko, S. (2018). How to improve the mental health care of children and adolescents in Brazil: Actions needed in the public sector.
Stiffman, A., Stelk, W., Horwitz, S., Evans, M., Outlaw, F. and Atkins, M. (2009). A Public Health Approach to Children's Mental Health Services: Possible Solutions to Current Service Inadequacies. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 37(1-2), pp.120-124.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. (2017). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR1-2016/NSDUH-FFR1-2016.htm
Wissow, L., van Ginneken, N., Chandna, J. and Rahman, A. (2016). Integrating Children's Mental Health into Primary Care. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 63(1), pp.97-113.
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