Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Social Policy

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I think as a nation we should be very upset of the fact that every year for the past five decades we have lost 5, 000 young people between ages of 14 and 24 to suicide. And that 600,000 of them make an attempt that so serious every year that they'll end up in emergency room. We ignore most kids who have psychiatric illnesses in United State.

As evidence by the fact that we don't treat there insurance the same way, we don't respect the deceased with the respect that we say, we always he is just willful or is lazy or his mom is neglectful, and we would never do that. If someone has a seizure, or if someone had asthma.

And I think since we don't give its rightful attention when a terrible event occurs, and someone had a history of psychiatric illness, or had a history of taking a pill for their psychiatric symptoms is very quick for the public to make it cause an effect when that isn't the case.

Just because two things are true doesn't mean that one caused the other one. But I think the bigger part of the ice burg is that people psychiatric illness that do not get attention are more likely to be a less likely to be productive members of society. They are less likely to graduate high school, they are less likely to get married, they are less likely to have great hobbies and to the recreational parts of life.

And that as a nation I think is the loss of our experiencing. And if we're going to loose 5000 teenagers every year, if we're going to have a whole bunch of kids drop out of school not because they are not academically or intellectually capable, it's just that they can't tolerate the sitting, the waiting, the paying attention, that's a big expense.

So, whether you're democrat or a republican, this is just for our nation from a financial point of view, when I think from a moral and ethical point of view. We still only respond to this kinds of disorders when someone has killed themselves and killed many, many other other people.

On a daily basis, we don't think about the child who is failing in school, or the child who starts to use want enough for recreation uses but is self medicating, or the fact that 60% of our panel system having individuals with a mental illness, and that 50% of the people with alcohol abuse have a mental illness, and 40% with substance abuse, and 33% and to the people who are homeless, and so I think that unfortunately we're not tackling this the way we tackled polio.

And I think this country is very capable of doing that. If you are old enough to remember AIDS, before Ronald Reagan refused to say the words. But frankly, once the nation starts talking about it, and put all their scientists to it, we actually changed adolescent behavior. We got kids to start talking about condoms, and safe steps, safe sex, and we found out it's a virus, and how it's transmitted.

And if we could do that for AIDS, and we could do that for Polio when we got the March of Dimes going, I'm absolutely convinced that with that kind of concerted efforts, this country could tackle child and adolescent psychiatric disorders.