Mental illness treatment barriers

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Mental illness treatment barriers

There are a lot of barriers in terms of children getting help. One of the most common is shame, and the natural aversion to even consider the idea that emotional vulnerability is what you are dealing with. I've had people say that they've had this problem for a decade, or 15 years. It started when they were in Sixth Grade in a very material way. Now they are in graduate school, and they are still dealing with depression or anxiety. I think the human reticence to acknowledge this possibility is one key problem. Another problem we have is trying to access good services. I think that's another complexity in terms of the mental health system that we have in this country. There are 50 million people that we have in this moment in time that don't have access to any healthcare insurance. Those people have a hard time getting access to services. Other barriers may be with the parents. The parents reticence to engage in the evaluation. What I encourage people to consider is getting the evaluation is getting the information. Once you have that information, you don't have to engage in treatment. You don't have to get a comprehensive game plan. This doesn't have to become a big part of your life. But if you have an evaluation, you have the perspective of a professional. How does your teenager compare, for example, to the other 13,000 or 14,000 people they have interviewed. I do think it is helpful to get evaluations for people, but there are several barriers, both within people and within the system, that remain challenging.

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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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