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Improving the availability of inclusive mental health
services for all residents in Clay, Platte and Ray counties.

We Can Do More for Our Children

The St. Joseph News-Press published an outstanding guest column by Garry Hammond, president and chief executive officer of Family Guidance Center of St. Joseph.

The title of the article pretty much says it all: “Society can do more to reduce stigma of youth mental illness.” But Hammond’s points are equally important. Especially notable is this comment:

“Left untreated, mental illness among children can lead to lifelong problems in school, in adulthood and even remarkable increases in suicide risk. But it doesn’t have to. Most children diagnosed with a mental illness can, and will, respond favorably to professional mental health services and can maintain a high quality of life well into adulthood.”

Hammond also noted that half of all mental disorders start by age 14. These include ADHD, chronic depression, mood disorders or anxiety and impulse disorders. An all too common result of untreated illness is suicide. Hammond noted that suicide is the sixth leading cause of death among 5- to 15-year-olds.

Hammond noted that solutions are not easy, but one suggestion is something we agree with completely: reducing the stigma of mental illness and stressing early identification and treatment can do much to solve many problems. Training for educators, increasing mental health professionals in schools and educating the public are all proven steps that get results.

To read the complete column, visit this web page (opens in new page).

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The Clay, Platte, Ray Mental Health Board of Trustees
3100 NE 83rd Street, #2700, Kansas City, MO 64119 • (816) 468-1772 •
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