Mental Health Advocacy
With high out-of-pocket costs, long waits for appointments, a shortage of mental health professionals and states cutting their mental health budgets, it is difficult for parents to obtain mental health services for their children. Yet, four million children and adolescents in the United States suffer from a serious mental disorder that causes significant functional impairments at home, at school and with peers.1
1 in 4 parents finds it difficult to obtain specialized mental health services. Barriers include locating a specialist, long waits for appointments and high out-of-pocket costs.
President Obama started a national dialogue on mental health in June 2013 at the first White House Conference on Mental Health in 14 years. The White House also launched a website, mentalhealth.gov, to increase awareness about mental health and reduce the stigma that often prevents people from getting help.
Greg Fritz, MD, former director of the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center, has written, "When only about 20 percent of children and youth with mental illness receive any kind of mental health services, the bar for improvement seems to be set pathetically low. The American conscience, when affronted, and our national capacity, when fully harnessed, constitute an incredible force. A concerted war on mental illness would save lives, reduce suffering from the outset, and free the future for millions of affected individuals and their families."
1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, 1999.