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More Than Half of Teens With Mental Health Disorders Do Not Receive Treatment: Study

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More than half of teens in the United States who have mental health disorders do not receive treatment, according to a new study. The findings come from an analysis of more than 10,000 teens.

Of those teens who do receive help, most are not treated by a mental health professional, HealthDay reports. They are treated by pediatricians, school counselors or probation officers.

“It’s still the case in this country that people don’t take psychiatric conditions as seriously as they should,” lead researcher E. Jane Costello of Duke University said in a news release. “This, despite the fact that these conditions are linked to a whole host of other problems.”

Overall, in the past year, 45 percent of teens with psychiatric disorders received some form of service. The most likely to receive help were those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (74 percent), conduct disorder (73 percent) or oppositional defiant disorder (71 percent). Those least likely to receive services were those with phobias (41 percent) and any anxiety disorder (41 percent). Black teens were much less likely than white teens to receive mental health treatment.

There are not enough qualified pediatric mental health professionals in the United States, Costello said. “We need to train more child psychiatrists in this country,” she noted. “And those individuals need to be used strategically, as consultants to the school counselors and others who do the lion’s share of the work.”

The findings appear in the journal Psychiatric Services.

1 Response to this article

  1. Avatar of Bethany Heinesh
    Bethany Heinesh / November 24, 2013 at 4:44 am

    On behalf of Americans everywhere, thank you for all you do in the realm of mental health and wellness. The work you are doing is having a far-reaching impact in this critical area of the American landscape.

    In line with your continued search to find alternative treatments for mental diseases and disorders in adolescents, I thought I would share some research of interest.

    Clinical child physiologist Dr. Brendan A. Rich wrote an article, “Attrition from Therapy Effectiveness Research among Youth in a Clinical Service Setting,” which was recently published in Administration and Policy in Mental Health. His findings examine issues that relate to mental health research in adolescents –or rather, in many cases, the lack thereof.

    Basically, Rich wanted to prove that a group therapy-styled treatment called the Resilience Builder Program (RBP) was proving to be very effective in treating teens with mental disorders. What he found, however; was that many research participants drop out of voluntary research/treatment projects, which hinders the collection of data that can help teens long-term.

    We need to bring awareness to the importance of participating in and successfully completing research projects that will prove to be effective in getting teens treatment that will actually have positive, long-term effects in their lives.

    Again, thank you for your continued dedication to making a positive change in the area of mental health.

    Bethany Heinesh
    DugDug Contributor

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