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Mental Illness- Through Eyes Of Those Affected

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APA Offers Tips For Addressing School Related School Violence 03/23/2005

NEW! List of Psychiatrists who work in schools (listed by states)

APA Urges Congress to Increase Funds for Veteran's Mental Health - 04/04/2005

APA Urges Congress to Improve Mental Health of American Indians- 04/14/2005

Winter 2005 from the American Psychiatric Assoc.
May 2004 – The children's mental health workforce bill, the Child Healthcare Crisis Relief Act, H.R. 1359, sponsored by Reps. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and S. 1223, sponsored by Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Susan Collins (R-ME), is gaining support in both the House and the Senate. The bill aims to address the national shortage of children's mental health professionals, including child and adolescent psychiatrists, by encouraging individuals to enter the field through the creation of education incentives.

For child and adolescent psychiatrists, the bill would set up a loan forgiveness program and would restore Graduate Medical Education (GME) funding for child psychiatry training programs, which would reduce a significant financial burden on the hospitals and medical schools that operate these medical training programs. Other children's mental health professionals, such as psychologists and school-based professionals, would be eligible for scholarships, loan forgiveness and training grants.

H.R. 1359 has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committee's. S. 1223 has been referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Currently, S. 1223 has the bipartisan support of 11 cosponsors, including Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Ranking Member Edward Kennedy (D-MA), but many more supporters are needed for the bill to be passed in 2004. The House bill, H.R. 1359, now has 56 bipartisan cosponsors but it too requires much more support to gain passage.

ACTION: All AACAP members and friends are asked to contact their two Senators and House Representative to request cosponsorship of S. 1223 and H.R. 1359 the Child Healthcare Crisis Relief Act. Call 1-202-224-3121 to reach the Capitol Switchboard, and ask for your representative’s or Senator's office or give your zip code. When connected to the office, ask for the Health Legislative Assistant. A sample message is as follows:

“I am a practicing child and adolescent psychiatrist from (your town), and I am calling to urge Rep.(or Sen.) ______ to cosponsor the Child Healthcare Crisis Relief Act, S. 1223 (or H.R. 1359), sponsored by Reps. Kennedy and Ros-Lehtinen, and Sens. Bingaman and Collins. This legislation will help children and their families gain access to treatment by increasing the numbers of children’s mental health professionals, including child and adolescent psychiatrists. You may call Mike Zamore in Rep. Kennedy's office or Bruce Lesley in Sen. Bingaman's office for cosponsorship.”

Less than 20% of the estimated 14 million children and adolescents who have a mental illness receive treatment (Report of the Surgeon General’s Conference on Children’s Mental Health, 2001). The Child Healthcare Crisis Relief Act is urgently needed to remove one of the barriers to treatment, the lack of available child mental health professionals, particularly child and adolescent psychiatrists. The extension of GME funding support for child psychiatry training programs is the AACAP’s top legislative priority, along with parity.

- Thank you for your action!

The following is a "Dear Colleague" letter which was circulated to all members of the House of Representatives by Reps. Kennedy and Ros-Lehtinen requesting cosponsorship of the bill.

March 11, 2003

Child Healthcare Crisis Continues

Dear Colleague:

Despite living in the wealthiest nation in the world, many of our children in need of help lack access to a child mental healthcare worker. According to former Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher in his landmark 1999 report on mental health, only about 20 percent of emotionally disturbed children and adolescents receive any kind of mental health services. A big reason for this is a lack of trained mental healthcare workers. There are numerous instances where acutely suicidal or physically violent children and their parents have to wait overnight in an emergency room before being seen by a mental health professional. Even then, subsequent outpatient follow-up is often delayed for weeks leaving families feeling frustrated, alienated and hopeless. Consequently, many children never get to their follow-up appointment, which often leads to more violence, emergency room recidivism, and juvenile detention.

To help alleviate this critical shortage of child mental healthcare workers, we will be introducing the Child Healthcare Crisis Relief Act in the 108th Congress (H.R. 5078 from the 107th Congress). This bill will create incentives for young healthcare providers to specialize in treating our young. It will strengthen and expand graduate programs in children’s mental health.

The Child Healthcare Crisis Relief Act has the support of more than forty national organizations. This includes the Alliance for Children and Families, the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, the National Association of School Nurses and the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare to name just a few. These organizations appreciate the depth of this continuing crisis and understand that all Americans are adversely affected by this problem. Untreated or partially treated mental illness in children and adolescents leads to significantly higher school drop-out rates, increased juvenile crime and higher rates of suicide and illicit substance abuse.

Please help give our nation’s children and their families the mental health care they need by cosponsoring this important bill. For more information, a complete list of supporting organizations, or to cosponsor, please contact Dr. Mike Barnett in my office at x54911.


Patrick J. Kennedy Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Member of Congress Member of Congress

Transformations is the word.
We can do the work of transformation only in the present moment

-- Thich Nhat Hanh

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