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Studies Show Children With Mental Illnesses are Only Being Treated by Their Pediatricians

Jaclyn Hughes

We live in a time where mental health is finally getting the publicity that it deserves. Many adults have suffered for decades with mental health ailments and have been forced to keep them a secret or not seek treatment just out of sheer embarrassment. With recent celebrity events highlighting the importance of mental health awareness, such as the death of Robin Williams, the public is now starting to see just how crucial getting support for someone who’s living with these illnesses can be.

Children coping with mental health developments are also on the rise. It’s no surprise with millions of kids seeming to live much more advanced lifestyles than those in previous generations. Kids today have to compete with body image disorders, bullying via social media, and sexual pressure is entirely greater than it ever was. Children no longer just go outside and play with neighborhood kids; instead they are growing up very quickly and feeling the pressure of the world at much younger ages.

One out of every three kiddos is currently being treated for some form of mental health ailment. That’s fairly alarming from what those stats used to look like in the 1980’s, 1990’s, and decades before those. While the kids are at least being medicated to make their symptoms less daunting, the latest news reports that these adolescent patients are being treated solely by their pediatricians only. Why is that of any concern? Because they aren’t specialists in mental illnesses, and your child may not be getting the type of care that they truly desire. Your child could also be misdiagnosed with one form of illness, but upon being evaluated by a therapist or physiologist, they could very well have had something different all along.

According to Fox News, 35% of children are obtaining their mental health care treatment plans from their primary care medical team. Roughly 26% are seeking the help of psychiatrists only, and 15% are regularly visiting social workers or therapists.

If you feel your child may be developing mental illness symptoms, always go to your pediatrician first to get a referral for the appropriate doctor to treat your child. Many opt to only be treated by their pediatrician simply because their health insurance doesn’t cover mental health benefits, or because it is just too expensive. It is totally worth looking into free support groups, peer support groups locally, and any therapeutic programs offered at your child’s school before totally eliminating therapy from their routine. It often is the best path to take as your child requires the knowledge and treatment of a specialist versus a doctor that isn’t fully trained on the mental and emotional changes that children can experience.

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