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Monday, November 25, 2013

Teens Lack Proper Mental Health Treatment

Mental health is difficult to diagnose and even harder to treat; for every patient that receives adequate care for their disease, there are still many more who do not see any care. Sadly, there are a number of teenagers who suffer from mental health problems who do not get the treatment they so desperately require.

In the United States, more than half of teens suffering from mental health disorders do not receive treatment, according to a new study. Those who do receive help are mostly treated by someone other than a mental health professional, HealthDay reports. In fact, most teens receive their mental health treatment by pediatricians, school counselors or probation officers. White teens were much more likely to receive care than Black teens.

“It’s still the case in this country that people don’t take psychiatric conditions as seriously as they should,” lead researcher E. Jane Costello of Duke University said in a news release. “This, despite the fact that these conditions are linked to a whole host of other problems.”

In an analysis of more than 10,000 teens in the last year, researchers found that only 45 percent of teens with psychiatric disorders received some form of service. 

Cases most likely to receive help were:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (74 percent)
  • Conduct Disorder (73 percent)
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (71 percent)
Cases least likely to receive help were:
  • Phobias (41 percent)
  • Anxiety Disorder (41 percent)
The United States has a shortage qualified pediatric mental health professionals, Costello said. “We need to train more child psychiatrists in this country,” she noted. “And those individuals need to be used strategically, as consultants to the school counselors and others who do the lion’s share of the work.”

The findings appear in the journal Psychiatric Services.
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