It seems a crying shame that in 2014, in a country so rich with resources, that the average child with a psychiatric disorder still waits years – literally years – between the onset of first symptoms and when they start to get professional help. As I’ve said to so many pediatricians and teachers over the years, “While you tell the parents wait, they’ll outgrow it they are increasing the time of experiencing being anxious, not making friends, being unable (not unwilling) to speak or separate.”
While that may be true for some problems of some children, so many more – literally millions more – have symptoms that fester and they lose precious windows of opportunity to get help. So my hope in the new year of 2014 is that we get better as a society in reducing the stigma of getting help for mental health issues. We would never tell a child with cancer or diabetes to wait because they may grow out of it.
Here’s an important study you may want to take a look at documenting the sobering statistics: Wang et al. (2005) Failure and Delays in Initial Treatment. Among other findings look how long at takes for individuals to get help:
- Only 3% of people with social phobia make treatment contact within 1 year
- Only 1% of those with separation anxiety make contact in the first year
- Only 7% of those with ADHD make it to treatment within the first year