Huffington Post: Tackling Children’s Mental Health Needs, Step-by-Step

May 6, 2016

In her new Huffington Post blog, Children’s Law Center Executive Director Judith Sandalow calls attention to the state of children’s Mental Health in the District and references our 2016 update on children’s mental health. While Sandalow applauds DC’s significant improvements, she points out the urgent need to do more, as thousands of children continue to be left behind. 

Before you accuse me of being overly optimistic, let me say that I’m also a realist. There is still a steep climb ahead for DC to meet the mental health needs of all our children.

From my work at Children’s Law Center, I have an on-the-ground view of how difficult it can be for children to get the specific help they need. I have seen what happens when a young child recovering from violence and abuse doesn’t have access to timely counseling. Or when a teen with an anxiety disorder can’t get appropriate medication. These conditions, if left untreated, can have lifelong consequences.

Unfortunately, the DC Department of Behavioral Health estimates about 20,000 children in DC are likely to have a diagnosable mental health issue that requires treatment - but we are only reaching 13,000. That’s potentially a large gap. And the DC government’s own reporting shows that most children still wait far too long to get treatment, and the overall quality of those services is still poor.

All DC children - and especially those who are growing up exposed to violence, family instability, homelessness and poverty - need access to a full range of timely, quality and appropriate mental health interventions if we want them to succeed.

Read more at the link below.