Mental & Behavioral Health
Concern about the emotional and behavioral well-being of children and youth
was a prevalent topic of discussion. These discussions focused largely
on the perceived increase in stress and resulting anxiety children experience.
While the source of stress may vary across demographic groups, every group
shares in the anxiety and depression imposed by those stressors.
Discussions further centered on the lack of behavioral and mental health
services and providers in the region. Many interviewees expressed that
current mental and behavioral services are designed for adults and are
therefore not accommodating to the unique mental and behavioral needs
of children and youth.
“[Children in different socioeconomic groups face] different stressors,
but the same anxiety.”
“What’s going to happen to these kids in 10, 15, 20 years?
When you see random shootings [involving] children across the country,
[the shooters] have had some mental health issues for years, and they
were slowly progressing, but they didn’t get addressed because parents
were [ignoring them].”
“The [behavioral and mental health] services that are available aren’t
geared towards kids, they’re geared towards adults.”
“Still a lot of [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder], anxiety,
and depression, I would say, are our most common diagnoses that we see…
Psychosis has obviously been a lot more predominant as we’ve really
taken our first episode psychosis program and served the young adult population.”
“There’s some mental health banging around out there that we’ve
become suddenly very conscious of, [including] suicides, but I can’t
help but wonder if the medical community shouldn’t be in a better
position to try to ferret that out.”