Mental health issues have always been treated with doubt, be they overestimated, underestimated or misunderstood. Nowadays, huge progress has been made, but there is still much work to do in terms of awareness.
In spite of the open minds we all claim to have, many problems are not tackled accordingly. Moreso, it comes even more difficult to deal with children or teenagers who are prone to mental issues. In this regard, Hawaii is set to improve the quality of its mental health care for teens with suicidal tendencies. This measure comes at a time when the leading cause of the deaths of citizens of Hawaii younger than eighteen is suicide.
The bill that will bring the change has the purpose of lowering the age of consent for mental health care to twelve years old instead of eighteen. It is now being analyzed by the House Judiciary Committee, and will allow professionals to make decisions whether some parents should be included in their children’s therapy sessions. The measure would affect the actions that must be taken in the case of minors affected by mental conditions.
Those who support the bill believe that the change would offer teenagers the opportunity of talking freely, without worrying about the opinion of their parents. This could come in handy especially to those with suicidal tendencies or those who are sexually confused. On the other hand, some people oppose the decision by explaining that this will deepen the gap between children and their parents.
The Centers for Disease Control and Awareness have released various reports on the suicide attempts in teenager ranks, and Hawaii is included in the top ten states that have the highest rates. Unfortunately, the state authorities are hard at work to conceal this information since it throws a shadow on the reputation of Hawaii.
If the state implements this new bill, it will follow the example of another twenty states with laws designed to protect children and teenagers and ensure their freedom of speech, without worrying about repercussions from their parents. This would be the first step for Hawaii to resolve one of its many issues regarding mental health care.
At the moment, its Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division is in the process of being audited, because it could not make any visible improvements with the huge budget of $63 million for 2016 and 2017. Furthermore, the state only has two facilities for mental health care meant for adolescents. Both are situated on Oahu Island, which cannot be easily reached by the whole population.
Hopefully with the implementation of this bill, things will start to go better for the youths of Hawaii.
Image Source: Popular Science