Mindful of the Consequences: How Improving the Mental Health of D.C. Youth Benefits the District

Mindful of the Consequences: How Improving the Mental Health of D.C. Youth Benefits the District

June 21, 2012 | by  | Justice Policy Institute

According to a new report by the Justice Policy Institute (JPI), too many youth in Washington, DC go undiagnosed and undertreated for mental illnesses and trauma that contribute to delinquency, poor school performance and later encounters with the justice system. As of 2009, only one private pediatric psychiatrist was located east of the Anacostia River, an area with many of the challenges known to affect mental health.

According to a new report by the Justice Policy Institute (JPI), too many youth in Washington, DC go undiagnosed and undertreated for mental illnesses and trauma that contribute to delinquency, poor school performance and later encounters with the justice system. As of 2009, only one private pediatric psychiatrist was located east of the Anacostia River, an area with many of the challenges known to affect mental health. Six providers serving clients on Medicaid closed programs or closed their business between 2010 and 2012, while many others were forced to lay off up to 75% of their mental health staff. In roughly the same period, from 2009 to 2012, the District ranked among the top 10 states with largest percentage cuts to their general funds for mental health.

The brief released by JPI today, Mindful of the Consequences: How Improving the Mental Health of D.C. Youth Benefits the District, explains how delivering quality mental health services to youth is vital for ensuring they are able to begin a lifetime of productivity during critical years of learning and to establish their place in society.

Click here to read a blog post by Melissa Neal, author of the new report, on the importance of the mental well-being of our youth.