The US has the highest rate of abuse and incarceration of all the Western Nations. It looks like the rates of violence and homicide in US cities are on the rise. What may we do to stem the wave of children growing up to become criminal and violent in their own families and their communities? We know that whenever the essential needs of children and teens are not met at home, they’re in danger for behavioural and mental health issues. We also know that these kids need services to prevent their behaviour and mental wellness problems from becoming worse and entrenched.
When politicians say we can’t afford basic health plans like The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), they, perhaps are not aware that the bucks spent on child physical and mental health care may prevent spending tens of thousand of bucks as they grow older and their difficulties worsen because of insufficient attention. Add to the cost of losses in communities and families because of violence. The costs of doing too little far outweigh the costs of doing the best thing in the first place. We might give them treatment when they’re young or lock them up when they develop. Incarceration costs much more that outpatient therapy and avoidance.
Studies have shown that good avoidance of later delinquency, child abuse and abuse includes home visiting apps and Head Start kind programs with family participation. Family treatment, mentoring, and skill building are powerful for young At risk youth. A latest research study of school based mental wellness demonstrated that this kind of program can reduce disciplinary difficulties and absenteeism, while improving mental wellness and self esteem of kids who take part in the program when compared to people who don’t participate. SCHIP funds physical and mental wellness care for kids and adolescents who don’t have medical health insurance. This year there’s a bill to expand the coverage of SCHIP.
The Senate will vote on SCHIP shortly and the President has threatened to veto the bill. The senate likely has enough votes to pass SCHIP, but not enough to over ride a veto. It’s significant to realize that we’ll all gain by making certain that all kids and teenagers have adequate physical and mental wellness care. Kathryn Seifert is a psychotherapist with over 3 decades experience in mental wellness, addictions, and criminal justice work. Seifert has authored the CARE 2 and How Children Become Violent. She speaks nationwide on mental wellness related topics and youth violence. She’s a professional witness in the regions of youth and adult abuse and sexual offending.