Around 50% of children in the US who have a mental disorder remain undiagnosed and untreated. Out of 46.6 million youths and teens from the ages of 6 to 18 in one survey, almost 8 million were suffering from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety or ADHD and only half of them were taking medication or seeing a counselor or making use of other treatment options from a mental health provider. Where a teen or youth is in the country also has been shown to have a huge impact on diagnosis and treatment. Over 70% of teens in North Carolina were being treated, but only just under 30% in the District of Columbia. That is why having the advantage of a mental health toolkit that can help bridge the gaps between different people in the teen’s life could be so important.

There are a lot of challenges teens and families face

For some experts, it might be shocking that so many children and teens are not getting the mental health support they need in some parts of the US. But families and youths face a lot of challenges in getting access to diagnosis and treatment so that means a lot of them are struggling with mental health and struggle with issues such as drug abuse, self-harming and suicidal thoughts. When you look at the provision of psychiatrists that focus on adolescents and children, there are less than 17 providers per 100,000 youths. Families have to wait for long periods to get that first appointment and to get treatment.

During this time the mental health of the child deteriorates further. There are also challenges interacting with the different systems in place, schools, emergency health care, family doctors, child care, and the adolescent judicial system. That is where resources from charities that offer a mental health crisis toolkit can help. But not everyone knows these things are there and they are not everywhere.

SPTS offers two family centred resources to help

The SPTS has created two resources specifically designed to help families, youths and the community build bridges between schools, pediatricians, emergency healthcare prociders, parents and such. This is in the form of a behavioral health toolkit and a mental health crisis toolkit.

Behavioral Health Toolkit - This helps families to recognize mental and behavioral issues that are starting to surface and gives them tools to use to keep the child safe with help in getting professional help for them. It can be issued in schools and in doctor’s offices and focuses on identifying what behavior to look for and prevention so you are not facing a crisis. With a pediatrician on board as well as treating their physical needs this is a way they can also better see to their patient’s mental needs.

Mental health toolkit - This can be issued in hospitals in the ER as a guide for parents of a teen who is going through a mental health crisis. It is a scary thing to go through and parents often feel alone, this helps inform parents, keep them calm and gives them a way to communicate with ER staff that is better for both sides. The shame and stigma around mental health issues need to stop. 

Author's Bio: 

This Article Penned by Lora Davis.