Giving Compass' Take:

· In rural areas like Mississippi, children suffering from mental health issues rarely get the help they need. The Hechinger Report discusses the lack of available services and poor outcomes for these individuals. 

· Should states supply more services for those suffering from mental health issues? How can states provide better opportunities to seek help?

· Read about the need for mental health funding.

Jennifer Townsend was shocked when she found a note written by her oldest child, a 14-year-old: The teen was planning to commit suicide. Townsend, a mother of four who lives in the rural Mississippi Delta, wanted to get help for her daughter immediately. She called a nearby state-funded community mental health clinic to ask for counseling. The clinic told her they had a wait list of at least six months. And even if the teen got in, they would only be able to see the girl once a month.

“I didn’t think one time a month was good enough,” Townsend said. “She was suicidal.”

In Mississippi, many children with severe mental health needs have few local options for care. They must go to psychiatric institutions, often far from their homes, to receive mental health support and services. Townsend — and her daughter — were lucky. Townsend was enrolled in a nonprofit parenting program she could turn to for help. The group connected her with a therapist who could counsel her daughter in personal home visits. Now, Townsend said, her daughter turns to the therapist for help and anticipates her visits.

Read the full article about mental health treatment by Jackie Mader at The Hechinger Report.