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Chrisa Hickey

Advocate, National Alliance on Mental Illness

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Half of teens with mental illness don't get treatment. It gets worse at age 18. How do we identify & treat teens with mental Illness?

As part of the response to the tragedy in Newtown and the Vice President's task force that resulted, President Obama has proposed to spend $235 million on mental health screenings for children in schools. This plan has been met with some skepticism as to its potential effectiveness and potential bias against children of lower incomes or of color.

But NAMI and NIMH statistics have shown that more than 50% of adults with serious mental illness - Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia - showed their first symptoms before the age of 14, and that teens and young adults (>25) have an average of six YEARS between onset of first symptoms and first treatment.

Due to HIPAA laws, parents of children over age 18 cannot get mental health treatment for their adult children without the child's consent. But if the adult child is manic or psychotic, it's highly unlikely consent will be given.

So how do we do a better job of identifying children with mental illness and providing them treatment before they become legal adults?

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    Jan 6 2014: How many kids are treated and drugged even though their is nothing wrong with them?

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