Reaching Full Potential
Why it matters

The statistics are sobering.

One in five children is faced with a mental disorder before the age of 12. And with the soaring demand in mental health treatment for young people comes a steep rise in the complexity and severity of their illnesses. In some way, everyone is touched by mental illness.

Our hope is to draw attention to these diseases and gain understanding of the issues from all affected: parents, school personnel and behavioral health providers. In past Full Potential reports, we have underscored a range of issues from childhood obesity to premature births. By bringing together the perspectives of many in the community, we have seen progress in awareness and solutions.

This Full Potential report is intended to offer a glimpse into the experiences of six young people who found treatment and of a mother who knows the impact a mental illness or addiction can have. The goal is to share stories many of us can relate to, and provide insight from central Ohio community leaders. We want to continue the conversation to overcome the stigma often associated with mental health issues.

The stories in this report represent patients in Franklin County and the real struggle to come to grips with the condition(s). We know progress is seldom a straight line, and the journey away from addiction or the confounding symptoms of a mental illness is inevitably riddled with setbacks. It is just that – a journey. By continuing to educate the community on the signs or symptoms our youth project, we are one step closer to getting them help.

We applaud the courage of these patients, and others out there, who share their stories. Every time someone with a mental illness is able to reveal his or her struggle, the stigma of having a mental illness diminishes slightly. And for this reason, we must all help in seeking solutions and providing hope to the epidemic facing so many of our children.

Together we need to work toward
  • Increasing the number of child and adolescent mental and behavioral health providers across a range of services
  • Coordinating and collaborating more effectively among different providers in the region
  • Integrating mental and behavioral health services in primary care settings
  • Being more willing to fund health insurance plans that adequately reimburse behavioral health services
  • Making behavioral health a priority for community leaders in regards to funding and philanthropic efforts
  • Increasing collaboration among juvenile justice, law enforcement, and mental and behavioral health organizations
  • Offering educational opportunities for providers and other stakeholders in the region
  • Engaging schools and families in prevention efforts to encourage positive behavior and identify troubled children and adolescents. An example is the Signs of Suicide (SOS) program offered to schools through Nationwide Children’s Hospital, which educates students and parents to get those in need treatment and help
  • Acting on opportunities to create safe and healthy neighborhoods, fundamental to individual health and wellness
  • Increasing research efforts and provider involvement in studies that help us understand the causes, courses and effective interventions for mental and behavioral health disorders

Are you or someone you know in need of help?

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