My intelligent, compassionate, musically gifted, goofy 10-year-old son has a level 1 autism spectrum disorder, and has recently been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and a panic disorder. As parents, we knew there was something wrong almost 2 years ago. We consulted various specialists, consented to a variety of tests and assessments, and our son has been in some version of therapy for almost all of the past 2 years. It took literally 7 different specialists, hundreds of hours, and thousands of dollars to get the answers we needed. All on our own, with minimal support from the school district, and very little reimbursement from the insurance company. It was a battle, but we persevered and finally wound up with our current treatment team of both a psychologist and a psychiatrist who are now helping us move in the right direction.
And we’re one of the “lucky” families. We have access to mental health professionals, and the ability to spend both the time and money needed to help our son. But there are millions of children in the United States who do not have access to the resources necessary to successfully diagnose and treat mental illness. And that is why I say our story, isn’t just “our” story.
The Child Mind Institute, is an independent non-profit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. They publish an annual report called Speak Up For Kids, that brings together the most current information on child and adolescent mental health. I would urge everybody reading this, to take the time to read the entire report at the link above, but provided here is a snapshot of the information.
The report shows with startling clarity, exactly how many children are affected…
How many of those children and youth are not receiving the treatment they need…
And why they are not able to access treatment…
I know how hard my husband and I had to work to get our son the diagnosis and treatment he needs. It breaks my heart to know that there are millions of other children JUST LIKE HIM, who need the same level of care (or more), but are not able to access the necessary resources. Our story is the story of millions of other families in the United States who are struggling with mental illness.
1 in 5 people will be affected by mental illness in their lifetime, but everybody is impacted through friends or family. Our story is not just our story.
I often think the same thing. We have the resources available to us to get our daughter as much help as possible. My heart aches for those who do not. I have been praying and dreaming of a way to provide extra support to families through my blog. I’m still not sure what that looks like exactly, but God keeps it on my heart!
It was so nice to find you on the Different Dream link-up! I host a link-up on Mondays called #MomentsofHope. I’d love to have you share with us there!
Blessings and smiles,
How nice to find a kindred heart on this journey!