Newtown Tragedy Sparks Controversy Over Mental Healthcare Access

Newtown Tragedy Sparks Controversy Over Mental Healthcare Access
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 6:53pm

The Connecticut shootings have sparked a nationwide conversation about mental health.
Is there help for the most troubled among us?

The answer can be yes, but it's often hard to access.

According to the Child Mind Institute in New York, less than half of the 15 million children and teens with a psychiatric disorder get any kind of professional help. To that point, there was no official mental health diagnosis for Adam Lanza.

Most are not prone to violence, but one stumbling block to care is stigma. There's also lack of access to qualified child psychiatric care, something most schools are not equipped to handle.

"Many parents who are struggling with children who have very severe behavioral of emotional symptoms go to emergency rooms, and emergency rooms are a band aid," Dr. Howard Koplewicz, President of Child Mind Institute.

Experts in children's psychiatry say the first thing parents should do if they suspect a child has a mental health problem is call their pediatrician. 

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