Medical News and Perspectives |

Programs Aim to Help Schools Identify and Address Mental Illness in Children

Tracy Hampton, PhD
JAMA. 2013;309(17):1761-1762. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.4159.
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Mental illness often goes unidentified in children and adolescents, in some cases being confused with typical “growing pains.” But real problems are prevalent in this age group—for the first time in more than 30 years, the top 5 disabilities in US children are mental health conditions (Slomski A. JAMA. 2012;308[3]:223-225). And in most cases, those affected are not getting treatment.

Ongoing and proposed efforts focus on providing early treatment by helping school staff identify problems and coordinate with clinicians to intervene before students begin substance abuse, develop depression, or become violent.

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New legislation and a variety of programs center on training school staff to identify students with signs of mental health problems and to refer at-risk students for treatment.

(Photo credit: Voisin/Phanie/www.sciencesource.com)



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