Early Intervention & Mental Health

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Early Intervention & Mental Health
Fri, 09-14-2012 - 3:04pm

A study found that kids start exhibiting mental health warnings, but most of them don't get the help they need: 

Despite the vast majority of records including evidence of academic difficulties -- retentions and social promotions, as well as behavioral and emotional problems -- one in four children in the study sample, ages 12 to 16, had not been evaluated or declared eligible for special education services. For those who were found eligible, 95 percent still struggled academically. High rates of absenteeism, truancy and multiple suspensions were common to those students who did not receive special education services, the report says.

You can read the complete article at: http://www.theday.com/article/20120914/NWS12/120919796/-1/nws

How can we get schools to be more on top of getting children evaluated for mental health issues?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2001
Fri, 09-14-2012 - 8:06pm

The way I see it, is that the real problem is not knowing what to do about it. Yes, my younger child had "mental" problems and "abnormal behaviors" before second grade, but we WERE on top of it.  We DID do "early intervention".  But we do not live in an age in which we know a whole lot about what is the best course of action.

No one told us that for her mental, emotional and behavioral issues, her attentional problems, etc., the (especially initial) psychiatric medications were not appropriate because a slew of medical issues, probiotics, dietary changes, sleep study, correct vision testing, etc. etc. etc. had not been addressed.

All we knew was to get her into the "mental" health system and therapy and into the psychiatrist. The therapy was great but did not FIX the problems, and things still got worse, so then came the psychiatric medications, and the rest is history.

I see the story repeated so many times with parents who DO everything by the book. They ARE aware. But our kids still suffer.  Of course, without that parental vigilence, which so many other children don't have, yes - things would be so very, horribly much worse for our children.

In my daughter's case, the teachers at first kept reassuring us she'd "grow out of it" until she went berserk at school in second grade - really destructive - and that's when they said, "yes, she needs intervention." It would not have changed anything if we'd put her in therapy earlier. And it was determined the problem definitely was not with her home environment either.

I think schools feel pretty powerless. The teachers are well aware of the kids having problems, and over the years, more and more students have "problems! So many are "special needs"!  There are few social workers, few special ed teachers, few counselors... and so many in need of help. And who is going to advocate that each of those children have the type of care really needed - comprehensive, collaborative, wrap-around care of the whole person - especially when that involves their whole family!!???  

So... I don't have the answer to your question. I see it in it's enormity, and feel it is a massive, growing problem for our society - one that we could actually SAVE money in the long run by having a systematic way to address, but it would take the will of the people and the governement and an expenditure of money in this area in order to save the country money down the line in so many other areas - justice system, social security, disability, medical, loss of tax revenue... to just go ahead and really take care of the the children of today - socially, emotionally, medically, in a truly integrative fashion.

www. It's Not Mental .com