Norfolk, VA, April 18, 2008 --(PR.com
)-- Pervasive throughout all societies and cultures, mental illness impacts families, friends, employers, schools, and our health and judicial systems. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) researchers have found that, unlike most disabling physical diseases, mental illness begins early in life. Indeed, the Surgeon General has estimated that 20 percent of our nation’s children under the age of 18 are affected with emotional and behavioral disorders and between 6 and 9 million of them are suffering from what are known as serious emotional disabilities (SED).
Half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age fourteen, and three-quarters begin by age twenty-four. Each year, hundreds of thousands of America’s young people are admitted to psychiatric hospitals, residential treatment centers, boot camps, therapeutic foster homes, and behavioral academies.
Deborah Clark Ebel, author of The Forgotten Future: Adolescents in Crisis, believes that while in some cases children and teens may be very appropriately referred to and treated in such facilities, it’s time to question the validity and benefit of many of these out-of-home placements.
“Parents place their children into the care of inpatient mental health facilities expecting that their child will receive an intensive therapeutic experience, but often that does not happen. There must be a transformation of mental health services for children and adolescents with serious mental health needs. We must not settle for anything less than our best in caring for our future leaders—our teachers, lawyers, parents, politicians, service workers, and all the other young people involved in the mental health system,” says Ebel, who has twenty-plus years’ experience working as a registered nurse with children and adolescents in psychiatric facilities in Alaska, Virginia, and Connecticut,
Care and treatment for children and adolescents with severe mental illnesses has come under scrutiny in recent years following Seung-Hui Cho’s massacre at Virginia Tech one year ago and other young people planning Columbine-style shootings. Privacy laws prohibit disclosure of any mental health treatment or psychiatric hospitalization that these young people may have received.
Ebel wrote her book to provide an insider’s view into life inside inpatient adolescent psychiatric facilities, as well as to provide important information for parents whose children may be involved in the mental health care system. “Today’s health care system can be hard to maneuver, and the mental health care system, in particular, can be complicated and difficult to understand. In a time of crisis, it can be frightening and intimidating, but the system can be navigated with a little information and patience,” says Ebel.
A portion of the proceeds from each retail sale of The Forgotten Future: Adolescents in Crisis will go to the National Children’s Advocacy Center in Huntsville, Alabama.