Three Steps for Children’s Mental Health

Mental health is real and anyone at any age can be diagnosed with a mental illness.

In adolescents, there are many factors that contributes to a child’s mental development: religion, school, friends and family, said Dr. Steven Dykstra, the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division (BHD) director.

Every year, 13 percent of children ages 8-15 suffer from a mental illness, according to Milwaukee County. And about half of mental illnesses begin at the age of 14-years-old. Children need a healthy development that prepares them socially, emotionally, and educationally to survive traumatic experiences, according to Milwaukee County BHD.

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Keep kids off the negotiating table in Medicaid reform

While all eyes are on the alleged scandals swirling around the White House, behind-the-scenes efforts to dismantle the healthcare safety net for children are persisting unabated.

Discussions around repealing the Affordable Care Act are now taking place in the Senate, and Medicaid will once again be in the spotlight. That could spell trouble for the nation’s children.

There will be new ideas, extended discussions and ultimately negotiations that try to improve our healthcare system. But while we applaud discourse and debate, and encourage our elected officials to weigh the pros and cons of all proposals, we have a simple request — as you debate Medicaid, protect children.

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Pediatricians Advise No Fruit Juice Until Kids Are 1

Kids under the age of 1 should avoid fruit juice, older kids should drink it only sparingly and all children should focus, instead, on eating whole fruit, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The pediatricians' group previously advised against giving fruit juice to infants under 6 months, but expanded that recommendation given evidence linking juice consumption to tooth decay and to gaining too much or too little weight.

For older kids who are at a healthy weight, 100 percent juice is fine in moderation, but should make up less than half of the recommended fruit servings per day, the AAP says.

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Kids Health Matters: Urgent care vs. emergency room

 

The boom in urgent care centers in the past few years has given Americans a new option in medical care. But for parents, it may have created a dilemma - when when does my child need urgent care and when is it time for the emergency room?

Spring sports are in full swing, kids are playing outside and beaches and camps are just weeks away.

But so are accidents and medical mishaps and they never seem to happen when the pediatrician's office is open.

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Change needed to help preschoolers with mental health issues

What do you picture when you hear that a child has been kicked out of school following a series of disruptive behaviors? My guess is that you’re imagining a troubled teenager. But that expelled student is three times more likely to be a toddler.

While that statistic might be startling to many, those of us who work in the early childhood education and health sectors have long been familiar with the challenges young children face in systems that were not designed to recognize or treat their unique emotional and mental health needs.

As a preschool director, I am encouraged by the recent efforts of Orange County’s Early Childhood Mental Health Collaborative. The collaborative is a new organization committed to creating system changes that address behavior concerns, underdiagnosed mental health issues, high expulsion and suspension rates, and other related needs of pre-kindergarten students.

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Medicaid spending caps in Republican proposal would cut coverage for Florida children

Low-income children in Florida gained Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act despite the state’s refusal to expand eligibility for the public health insurance program, according to a study published Wednesday by the non-partisan Urban Institute, a health policy think tank.

But those gains may end if the American Health Care Act — the Republican-sponsored bill to repeal and replace the health law known as Obamacare — creates spending caps for Medicaid, according to the consulting firm Avalere Health in a separate report this week.

Though the ACA’s coverage provisions primarily focused on uninsured adults, the health law helped increase coverage among low-income children by insuring more of their parents, raising awareness about the mandate to have health insurance, and simplifying enrollment and renewal processes, said Jennifer Haley, an Urban Institute researcher and co-author of the report.

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How Much Will Kids' Mental Health Care Cost Under Trumpcare? It Won't Be Cheap

The emotional and mental wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical wellbeing. One in five children between the ages of 13 and 18 have, or will have, a serious mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Because of this, it is important that parents find their children the necessary mental health care treatments to take care of them. But this can often be costly. While it might be a little unclear how much kids' mental health care will cost under Trumpcare, it is clear that Trumpcare (formally known as the American Health Care Act or AHCA) will drive up insurance premiums for some parents, making that care even more expensive or entirely unaffordable.

When House representatives made the decision to pass the American Health Care Act, they essentially voted in favor of making it harder for parents and their kids to obtain essential health benefits. If the AHCA manages to make it past the Senate in its current form as well, states would be able to obtain waivers which will exempt insurers from providing all guaranteed essential health benefits under Obamacare, including mental health care. Under Obamacare, all plans must cover behavioral treatment or counseling and mental health inpatient services.

Under Trumpcare, if an insurance policy doesn't guarantee mental health care, parents could be forced to pay out of pocket expenses for treatments and services — and that can get expensive, as studies have found that those with insurance don't seek out mental health treatment because of the cost.

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Empathy goes a long way for teens struggling with mental health

The opioid epidemic and recent media attention on suicide have put teen mental health under a spotlight, which  raises concerns and questions among parents. The percent of high school students who considered and attempted suicide increased slightly between 2013 and 2015,  federal data show, while the percent of high school students reporting symptoms of depression remained the same. Still, the numbers are startling: One in five teens has a mental health condition.

It pays to know the warning signs and best responses if you, a friend or child is experiencing mental health problems.

Psychotherapist Andrew Walen, founder and CEO of The Body Image Therapy Center, answered questions at USA TODAY on Facebook that covered issues including eating disorders, anxiety and depression, self-harm, body image and self-esteem in teens.

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Study: House ObamaCare repeal bill cuts $43B in Medicaid funds for children

The House GOP’s ObamaCare replacement bill would result in a cut of $43 billion over 10 years in funding for Medicaid coverage of children, according to a new study. 

The study from the consulting firm Avalere finds that the cuts to coverage for non-disabled children would come as a result of a new cap on Medicaid payments that the bill would impose, known as a per capita cap.

“Over time, per capita caps could significantly reduce the amount of funding that goes towards Medicaid coverage for children,” Dan Mendelson, president of Avalere, said in a statement. “While local control and more efficient operation of Medicaid programs are laudable goals, coverage and access for low income children are ultimately dictated by federal funding, and reductions of this magnitude could disrupt access.” 

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A suicide at age 8? Very rare, but not inconceivable

NEW YORK — The death was startling even to the coroner: a boy only 8 years old apparently killing himself in his Cincinnati bedroom.

Now Gabriel Taye’s January death is being re-examined, after it emerged that he was bullied and knocked unconscious at school two days before he died.

Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco’s office has ruled Gabriel’s death a suicide, but she said last week that she was reopening the investigation to re-examine the boy’s injuries and whether there were contributing factors to his death.

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