130,000 Bexar County children from ages six to 17 suffer from some form of behavioral illness, which includes mental health, substance abuse or a combination. Texas is ranked last in the United States for youth access to mental health care.
Half of all mental health issues manifest by age 14 but on average, youth who are diagnosed with a mental illness don't receive treatment until eight years after their initial symptoms. As many as 1 in 10 Texas children lack health insurance coverage.
A recent analysis of local practices in children’s mental health care identified gaps in treatment and highlighted opportunities to better serve Bexar County youths.
Diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and behavioral issues is usually reactionary – often in the emergency room, juvenile justice system or foster home – but data shows that detecting mental health needs sooner can help prevent or minimize the escalation of symptoms.
What does preventative treatment look like when it comes to youth mental health needs? What other changes and recommendations for Bexar County are outlined in the report?
How can we ensure all children receive access to effective mental health care?
Read the full Bexar County Children and Youth Rapid Behavioral Health Assessment here.
- Rebecca Helterbrand, vice president of strategy and innovation at the San Antonio Area Foundation
- Mary Beth Fisk, CEO of the Ecumenical Center
- Evita Morin, executive director of Rise Recovery
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This interview was recorded on Wednesday, May 29.