3/4 of children with mental disorders are not getting the recommended treatment

Parents who have not (yet) encountered mental health care providers assume that, like with drugs, there are certain rules and guidelines to what treatments will be offered. And that they will be followed or you'll be told why.

What is perplexing is that with mental health even when there are rules, the great majority of patients aren't offered the recommended treatments.

Imagine: "An estimated 15 million American children are diagnosed with a mental disorder, but only about a quarter of them are getting appropriate treatment based on scientific evidence."

About a quarter. Imagine how it is in countries with fewer resources.

Why isn't this considered a public health crisis? Instead, it is a crisis in millions of households who trust their providers to do the right thing and have no idea they are getting the modern equivalent of leaches and Dr. Kilmer's Swamp Root.


  1. The full report is at http://www.apa.org/releases/EBPCAreport0608draftfinal.pdf
    It's long, but very interesting.
    On the subject of eating disorders, the report cites (on p. 59) Keel and Haedt's article, "Evidence-Based Psychosocial Treatments for Eating Problems and Eating Disorders," Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 37(1), 39-61 (2008) Keel and Haedt conclude: "At this time, the evidence base is strongest for the Maudsley model of family therapy for anorexia nervosa." Consequently, if the APA is advocating evidence-based care, and the strongest evidence points to Maudsley, then APA should be heading in the direction of Maudsley.
    The report also cites to sources that could be useful to parents, including a piece by Gruttadaro, et al., "Choosing the Right Treatment: What Families Need to Know About Evidence-Based Practices." (p. 67)
    The final thing that struck me powerfully in the report was this: "Although children and adolescents comprise 25% of the US population, only one ninth of health care funding is directed to them." (p. 24)

  2. It definitely is a crisis. The system is in such shambles and it makes me sick. My own experience with the mental health system has been poor overall, so I can only imagine what it feels like for a parent with a child who has a mental illness.


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