Anna Mahnken Kyle Posted over 1 year ago 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? Are to many parents passing off the signs of mental illness and the odd behavior of teens? Are to many of us in denial or still fearing the stigma? Or is it just a general lack of education? The one place where we can possible set up a better system to identify teens in need would be inside our middle and high schools. Yes, we already ask far to much of our teachers, but if we could simply set up a system where our teachers could fill out one form of concern it could start the chain of events to get a teen help. These are the same people who are mandated reporters in the case that they might see signs of abuse or neglect. Not giving a child proper medical care is neglect. Not getting a child proper mental health care should also be a sign of neglect. I'm not saying we bog down DHS workers with neglect report. Simply referring the teen to a school counselor or other staff who can assist that teen and their family in accessing and maintaining mental health services would help more kids. When we learn to take mental health as serious as we do physical health, we will have far more functional members in our society. Many schools already have contracted services that allow an outside mental health agency to have an office inside the school. Having this system already in the school means that all we would really need is a referral form and maybe a few hours of teacher education on the early warning signs of mental illness. It would be a great goal to educate all parents, but educating our educators would be far more attainable.