Causes of mental illness in children

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Causes of mental illness in children

The hard truth is we really don't know what the causes are of emotional illness and mental illnesses in children. We think it's some combination of genetic risk, looking at your family history, environmental experiences, everywhere from viruses in the second trimester of pregnancy to traumatic experiences having been mistreated or misunderstood in some fundamental human way seems to increase one's risk. We also know that there seem to be protective factors, being loved, being cared for, being part of a community. But the hard truth is we have to learn a great deal more about the brain before we can say definitively what are really the causes of brain-based conditions in children.

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Kenneth Duckworth, MD

Psychiatrist, Harvard Professor & Medical Director for NAMI

Ken Duckworth, MD, serves as the medical director for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He is triple board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Adult, Child and Adolescent, and Forensic Psychiatry and has extensive experience in the public health arena.

Dr. Duckworth is currently an Assistant Clinical Professor at Harvard University Medical School, and has served as a board member of the American Association of Community Psychiatrists. Dr. Duckworth has held clinical and leadership positions in community mental health, school psychiatry and now also works as Associate Medical Director for Behavioral Health at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

Prior to joining NAMI in 2003, Dr. Duckworth served as Acting Commissioner of Mental Health and the Medical Director for Department of Mental Health of Massachusetts, as a psychiatrist on a Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) team, and Medical Director of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center.

Dr. Duckworth attended the University of Michigan where he graduated with honors and Temple University School of Medicine where he was named to the medical honor society, AOA. While at Temple, he won awards for his work in psychiatry and neurology. He also has a family member living with mental illness.

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