I have struggled with mental illness for most of my adult life. I have written here before about the difficulties I have faced & the massive impact my illness has had on my life. As painful as my issues have been I have always been incredibly grateful that I faced them as an adult. The growing crisis in children & adolescents mental health care demonstrates that not everyone is so fortunate.
Currently 3 children in class have a diagnosable mental health issue. Despite early intervention being a key factor managing mental illness, children often do not have access to specialised services. Many young people are trying to deal alone with problems of a magnitude that defeat adults.
There has been much talk of mental illness reaching parity with physical in terms of funding & priority. However, there is still a vast shortfall in mental funding. It is clear that the descripency in care for young people facing mental illness has long term impact on not only individuals, but also society at whole.
The only way to defeat the stigma attached to mental illness is to treat psychiatric & medical problems equally. We must make it easier for children to not only talk about mental illness, but to actually access the treatment they need.
As I said there have been moves towards redressing this shortfall in mental health funding & research, but it has to be solidified. In order to guarantee this sustained political will has to be garnered.
If you feel, as I do, that this is a critical public health issue please get involved at http://www.mqmentalhealth.org