Difficulties Faced by Juvenile Offenders With Mental Illness

Posted by MST Services

AdobeStock_213897759It was an innocuous summer day in 2009 when DeVonte Jones first exhibited signs of schizophrenia. Jones and his mother were attending a baseball game at Wavering Park in Quincy, Illinois, a sprawling facility of playground equipment, pavilions, grills, and, of course, baseball diamonds. Jones was just a teenager at the time.

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Topics: Mental Health

The Holistic Approach to Mental Health

Posted by MST Services

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Every day in the U.S., one in five children are struggling with significant mental health issues. These diagnoses take many different forms— attention deficit disorder, depression and anxiety are among the most common— but all of them, left untreated, have the potential to cripple the opportunities of childhood. By only age eight, 14% of youth will have developed a mental, behavioral or developmental disorder; just over half of these children will receive the treatment they need. But unaddressed mental health issues increase the likelihood that treatable diseases will become chronic, leading to cycles of mental health struggles throughout adulthood; in fact, untreated mental health problems cost Americans billions each year in lost earnings. Even before reaching adulthood, youth with a mental health condition are at higher risks of developing co-occurring disorders, like substance abuse issues, and dropping out of school— grievously, suicide is the third-leading cause of death among Americans aged 10-14.

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Topics: Mental Health

Stopping the Occurrence of Youth Suicide

Posted by MST Services

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The Sellers had lived in Pell City, Alabama for as long as they could remember. They had been married for over 17 years, established themselves in their local church, and had their first and only child, Sydney, in the city. Sydney was their pride and joy—in 2014, she was off to a successful first year of high school, earning her black belt in Taekwondo and taking honors classes. On December 7, she was “laughing, joking and watching TV”; everything seemed normal until her parents found her...

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Topics: Mental Health

How Can We Improve Mental Health Treatment In Schools?

Posted by MST Services

mental health in school

In the middle of her third grade year, eight-year-old Katie learned that she was transferring to an elementary school across town. As the new kid, she didn’t have anyone to play with at recess—Katie felt lonely and would make excuses to stay inside and finish work with her teachers. As the year went on, Katie lost hope. She began self-harming, and eventually developed an eating disorder. These mental health struggles caused her to miss school and fall behind on her work, only adding to her anxiety; eventually, Katie was hospitalized after expressing suicidal ideations. Mental health problems, left untreated, can become an unbearable hardship for young students. But if Katie had a comprehensive mental health treatment system in her school—one that intervened and provided support early on in her life—she may have avoided reaching desperation. For students to succeed academically and personally, it’s imperative that schools treat juvenile mental health just as seriously as physical health.

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Topics: Mental Health

A Holistic Approach to Preventing Teen Suicide

Posted by MST Services

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Public-figure suicide is alarming not just because of the loss of a human life. It engenders more suicide as it highlights a way out for teens that feel hopeless. Suicide rates increased 10% after the heartbreaking loss of Robin Williams, and I suspect that this trend will continue with the more recent passing of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade.

Suicide is one of the top three causes of death among teenagers in our community. Perhaps the most tragic aspect of this is that the pattern of suicide is preventable. Communities would benefit from a holistic approach to suicide prevention that is grounded in research science. Below are three actionable ways to prevent teen suicide in your community.

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Topics: Mental Health

MST-Psychiatric, an Adaptation of Multisystemic Therapy

Posted by Melisa Rowland, MD

To wrap up Mental Health Awareness Month, we are highlighting a story from an MST-Psychiatric case

Jenna Smith was worried. Something was wrong with her son. She had suspected a problem for several years, but now there was no denying it—Rodney was ill. It was his mind. Jenna first noticed symptoms three years earlier, around Rodney’s 14th birthday. At that time, he was having trouble sleeping and would wander the halls of their apartment late at night, talking to himself. He stopped cleaning his room and often neglected his personal hygiene. MST_Psychiatric.jpg

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Topics: Mental Health

Preventing Teen Suicide: A Community Initiative

Posted by Dan Bachicha

May is Mental Health Awareness Month—a time devoted to promoting mental-health well-being. This year youth suicide and self-harm are top focus.

Seven years ago, tragedy struck Woodbury, Minn., when five suicides occurred within the first six months of the year. “After the last suicide, my community was grieving and broken,” said Dr. Renee Penticoff, co-founder and president of the Suicide Prevention Collaborative (SPC)  “I felt I had to do something.” And indeed she did.

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Dr. Renee Penticoff, second from the left, with volunteers from the SPC

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Topics: Mental Health

Childhood Interrupted: Incarcerating Youth in Adult Prisons

Posted by Sue Dee

Film highlights the dangers of incarcerating youth with adults 

Imagine your 17-year-old daughter got in a school fight with a 16-year-old classmate. Hair pulling, scratching. No weapons involved. What do you think is the appropriate consequence for such behavior? Suspension from school? Grounded? Not allowed to attend the prom or other school activities? What about community service? Restitution? Probation? Think that may be going too far for a youthful mistake? Well, depending on the state you live in, that 17-year-old could be charged with felony child abuse and incarcerated in an adult correctional facility. As a parent, you would have no control over that process.

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Topics: Mental Health

The Gender Gap in The Juvenile Justice System

Posted by Lori Cohen

How to Make The Juvenile Justice System Fairer for Girls

Girls are different from boys. A pretty obvious statement that isn’t so obvious in much of the juvenile-justice system. 

blog-graphic-5.jpegAs pointed out in an exhaustive report by Francine T. Sherman Annie Balck (in partnership with the National Crittenton Foundation and the National Women’s Law Center), there is an inequality of treatment often from the get-go. Judges find abused young women from traumatic backgrounds in front of them and will put them into the system to “protect” the girls.

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Topics: Mental Health