Mental health experts in US urge focus on childhood screening
By David Morgan, ReutersWASHINGTON -- The U.S. mental health system has huge gaps that prevent many children with psychological problems from receiving effective treatment that could prevent tragic consequences later in life, experts told U.S. lawmakers on Thursday.
January 27, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
Just over a month after the shooting rampage in Newtown, Connecticut, mental health experts said psychological disorders usually emerge before people enter high school but that only one-quarter of children with problems see trained professionals and often the care is not enough.
“We see the results of insufficient mental healthcare in school failure and suicide. How do we do better?” Michael Hogan, head of the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, said in written testimony to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
“While the gaps in children's mental healthcare are huge, there is also reason for hope,” he added. “In part, this is because we know more about what works, and what doesn't.”
Hogan, a former New York mental health commissioner, was scheduled to appear with two other experts Thursday at the Senate committee's first hearing on mental health issues since the presidency of Republican George W. Bush, who set up the commission Hogan now chairs.
The hearing was scheduled in response to the shootings at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School where Adam Lanza, a young man described as having mental issues, gunned down 26 people including 20 young children with an AR-15-type assault rifle on Dec. 14.