mental health

Opinion: We Need More Mental Health Resources to Tackle Childhood Anxiety

In 2013, my son Ram spontaneously developed a condition called selective mutism, a childhood anxiety disorder. After three months of searching, I finally found a therapist familiar with the condition. My husband and I felt so relieved — until we found out she doesn’t take insurance.

It turns out, this scenario is common. Health insurance — whether private or through California’s Medi-Cal program — doesn’t pay what many psychologists request for their services.

Opinion: How to Ensure Medi-Cal Members Can Access Their Mental Health Benefits

Medi-Cal members might have mental health coverage in theory, but using it is a different story. People of color are less likely than white people to use mental health benefits, partially due to systemic inequities in the system. The same is true of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) youth.

Our communities care greatly about their mental health and the mental health of their loved ones, yet California’s promises to provide care fall short.

How the Mental Health System Fails Asian Americans — And How to Help

In many Asian Americans communities, reluctance to seek mental health care is common. A 2007 study found that less than 9 percent of Asian-Americans sought any type of mental health services compared to nearly 18 percent of the general population nationwide.

According to experts familiar with the Asian American experience, stigma, pressure to live up to the myth of Asian American success, and culturally inappropriate services prevent people from getting the mental health care they need.

Opinion: LGBTQ Youth Are Facing a Mental Health Crisis Too

Approximately 9.5 percent of teens ages 13 to 17 living in the U.S. identify as LGBTQ. Even before the pandemic, these kids were 4 times more likely than heterosexual youth to attempt suicide.

Those numbers have risen; LGBTQ youth are now 5 times more likely to attempt self-harm. As a psychiatrist who works extensively with LGBTQ youth, and as someone who identifies as a gay man, I am advocating for this particular group, as I have witnessed their struggles.

Striving to Meet the Mental Health Needs of Children with Physical Health Conditions

Research shows children with chronic illnesses are at least twice as likely as healthy children to develop a mental health disorder. They’re at higher risk for neglect and abuse. Their caregivers and siblings are also at increased risk for mental distress.

Yet there are few mental health treatment programs that cater to the needs of these children and their families. The MEND program at Loma Linda University is an exception.

Opinion: Why This Teacher Supports Bill to Improve Teen Mental Health

I have spent the past 30 years of my life as an educator in California, and I know firsthand that California teachers and schools are not currently prepared, staffed, or resourced to respond to California’s growing youth mental health crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted our collective mental wellbeing, whether from dealing with the fear of contracting COVID-19 to its related impacts like home isolation, family job loss, tech challenges, or loss of a loved one.

Opinion: Newsom Plan Responds to Crisis, Supports Vulnerable Youth

While the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our oldest Californians is well known, the pandemic also has caused widespread emotional suffering among California’s children and youth.

Out of this crisis, Gov. Gavin Newsom has demonstrated visionary leadership in making a historic $4.4 billion investment to transform the state’s behavioral health system for youth.

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