Treatment for teens challenged with mental illness lacking

Families with teens who are challenged with mental illness may talk to you about the issues they are dealing with but unless you have been there and done that, it’s likely that you aren’t really going to understand. You can comfort and have empathy, but can you really get to the heart of it? Yes, all teens struggle through adolescence to adulthood, but many teens have mental health issues that they don’t know how to cope with because they don’t understand what is happening to them and in their lives and they are not getting adequate help to come to grips with their struggles.

Last week Join Together (JT) at, it was reported that more than half of teens with mental health disorders do not receive treatment. And of those who are treated, “most are not treated by a mental health professional They are treated by pediatricians, school counselors or probation officers.”

In the past year 45 percent of teens with psychiatric disorders, says JT, received treatment: ADHD (74 percent), conduct disorder (73 percent) or oppositional defiant disorder (71 percent). Treatment is less likely for phobias (41 percent) and anxiety disorders (41 percent). Black teens are less likely than white to receive mental health treatment. One of the reasons for this is a shortage of pediatric mental health professionals.

Strong families weather the storms together. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to get over, around and through the obstacles they face and the challenges they tackle. But they work together to resolve and get to the other side of problems.

What makes a family strong? What life coping skills do they need? How do families cope if their troubled teens aren’t able to access outside help?

Strong families are empowered with knowledge and skills that help them balance life, jobs and families. They establish a routine and keep it. They are reliable. When they make a promise, they keep it. When they vow to be on time, they are. They care about their personal appearance. A neat appearance that reflects that you care about yourself will help raise your opinion of your self-image. Strong families are comprised of members who accept personal, family and other responsibilities like school and employment. Other skills are goal-setting, time management, problem solving and listening skills. Put down the phone or newspaper and look at the person you are speaking with. Give them your full attention. Really listen to what they are saying. And when you are making decisions, consider what the consequences will be.

In June, the Ohio Departments of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) and Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) awarded a grant to seven community partnerships to implement the Strong Families, Safe Communities project and to provide care coordination and crisis intervention services for youth at risk of harming themselves or others due to a mental illness or developmental disability. The project also provides statewide training on crisis intervention for mental health and developmental disabilities services professions. The objective is to stabilize youth in crises, ages 8-24, and develop long-term treatment plans that help children and their families live happy and healthy lives.

The focus is on engaging local systems and encourages community-driven solutions that combine knowledge and leadership across agencies. Columbiana County is one of five counties who submitted a proposal that will take in wrap around services and training for facilitators, crisis on-call services, respite services in specialized foster homes/emergency respite sites, telepsychiatry services/equipment, crisis intervention training for first responders, screening for high risk children, family support through Strengthening Families training, and coordination of step-down services focused on returning children to family homes from out-of-home placement.

Family Recovery Center promotes the health and well being of individuals, families and communities with education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related mental health issues. For more information about how you can strengthen your family to withstand the storms that come along in life, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail,