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Mental health experts push for more funding and resources, urges treatment start with children to break the cycle

Mental health in the workplace 100919
Posted at 8:27 AM, Oct 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-05 08:28:08-04

CLEVELAND — It’s Mental Health Week. The week, established by Congress 31 years ago, is designed to better educate the public about mental health issues and provide support for those who face it.

The National Institute of Mental Health says nearly 1 in 5 adults live with a mental health condition in the U.S., which is more than 51 million people.

Now, as mental health continues to become more widespread, experts are redirecting their approach to treatment by facing the issue head-on starting with children.

"The SOWC (State of the World's Children) report is truly groundbreaking in that it consolidates data around child mental health,” said Zeinab Hijazi, lead author of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) State of the World's Children Report.

UNICEF’s recent report shows across the world the pandemic hit poor and vulnerable kids particularly hard.

Experts say it may take years, as they grow into adults until we fully understand the true impact. Though, according to the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addictive Services, mental health can affect a child's development, how they express emotion and their ability to form relationships.

“47,000 adolescents are dying from suicide every year, and that is a staggering number,” said Hijazi.

But programs here in Ohio are helping.

The state offers parent training to help equip parents with skills to help promote healthy growth mentally with their kids.

The Cleveland Clinic also offering several psychological services for kids and their families. These services are offered in schools, too.

Akron Public Schools has school psychologists on site.

Still, experts say more funding and resources are needed overall.

“The call for action to invest in mental health, to prioritize mental health, is because investing in mental health can be lifesaving for individuals and for our children,” said Hijazi.