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Study: Nearly 1 in 7 kids and teens have a mental health condition, half go untreated

WQAD News -

(CNN) — Half of children with a mental health condition in the United States go without treatment, according to a new study published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

The researchers analyzed data from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, a nationwide survey administered to parents of children and teens. Of the 46.6 million children ages 6 through 18 whose parents completed the survey, 7.7 million had at least one mental health condition — such as depression, anxiety or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder — and only half received treatment or counseling from a mental health provider in the 12 months prior to the survey.

The number of children with a mental health condition varied widely from state to state. In Hawaii, for example, 7.6% of children had one of the conditions, compared to 27.2% in Maine. The number of children with a diagnosed mental health condition who weren’t treated by a provider also ranged widely, from 29.5% in Washington, DC, to 72.2% in North Carolina.

Mark Peterson, associate professor at the University of Michigan Medicine and senior author of the study, has a long history of studying health conditions that start in childhood and result in disabilities later on in life.

“Historically, I’ve studied everything from the neck down,” he said. Peterson said he has recently taken a step back to think about conditions that affect children from an early age in a more comprehensive way, which led him to study mental health. He didn’t expect to find such high numbers.

But child and adolescent psychiatrists and psychologists weren’t at all surprised by the results.

“Unfortunately this is not news for us,” said Dr. Barbara Robles-Ramamurthy, child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio, who was not involved in the study.

“We have known that the number of children who have mental illness and that go untreated is very high,” she added.

There are a number of difficulties and challenges for children and their families when it comes to accessing mental health services, explained Jennifer Mautone, psychologist in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Families are concerned about stigma and coverage

Within some families and communities, mental illness is still seen in a negative light, explained Robles-Ramamurthy.

“We have just over the last couple of decades started to really work on de-stigmatizing mental illness,” she said. As a result, many times families and youth don’t feel comfortable accessing mental health services, added Mautone.

The next big issue is insurance coverage, Robles-Ramamurthy said.

“There is a wide variability on what is covered, how much is covered, and people are concerned. Mental health treatment is not usually a once-every-couple-months type of environment,” said Robles-Ramamurthy. “For families struggling to make ends meet, the expenses can pose a real challenge.”

Even in states with appropriate provisions for families seeking mental health treatment, there may not be enough qualified providers.

There’s a severe shortage of mental health providers

According to data from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the majority of the country faces a severe shortage of practicing child and adolescent psychiatrists, with less than 17 providers available per 100,000 children.

This means many families face long wait times, which can, in turn, lead to worsening of the underlying mental health condition in the child and an eventual need for more treatment sessions than if the condition had been addressed in its early stages, explained Mautone.

The available qualified providers face another challenge: communicating with other systems caring for children.

There are many systems in this country aimed at caring for children, explained Robles-Ramamurthy, including the education system, the health care system, the juvenile justice system and the child welfare system.

“All of these systems that are supposed to be caring for children often times are not talking to each other,” said Robles-Ramamurthy. “A lot of times kids fall through the cracks and families are not getting the appropriate support they need,” she added.

The way forward

In an attempt to provide timely mental health services for kids, many pediatric health systems have started to integrate these services into pediatricians’ offices.

By embedding themselves with pediatricians, mental health providers build on the existing trust and are able to reach families in a familiar environment, said Mautone, who leads one such program — the Healthy Minds, Healthy Kids Initiative at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“We are readily available, many times the same day, to explain our service, meet the family and begin to understand what the challenges are,” she added.

The program has served more than 2,500 patients in the last two years and continues to expand. Robles-Ramamurthy sees this as a sign of progress but says there is much more to be done.

“Untreated mental illness in children pose grave consequences to our communities, including high rates of suicide, academic decline and unemployment,” she said.

Faculty, staff to pay more to park at University of Illinois

WQAD News -

URBANA, Illinois (AP) — Faculty and staff at the University of Illinois are going to have to dig a little deeper to pay to park at school.

The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports that the school is raising parking-permit rates for faculty and staff in July by about 12.5 percent. It’s the first increase since 2012 and the newspaper says the revenue generated will help pay for parking-related construction and maintenance of parking facilities.

The amount of the increase in the price of parking permits depends on the salary of the school employee. If, for example, an employee makes $50,000 a year, the rate will increase from $400 to $450 a year. Faculty and staff that earn more a year will pay more.

The fees are for virtual parking permits, which are enforced with license-plate-recognition technology.

Childish Gambino makes Grammy history

WQAD News -

(CNN) — Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” won Grammys for song and record of the year on Sunday, becoming the first rap song to win the prestigious awards.

The artist — also known as the mutitalented Donald Glover — did not attend the event and reportedly declined an invitation to perform at the Grammys.

“This Is America” beat out “Shallow,” “God’s Plan” and other big hits. The Grammy for song of the year honors song writers, while record of the year goes to the recording artist.

The song caused a stir last May when Gambino released its ambitious video, which was full of racial symbolism.

Related: ‘This Is America’: The Childish Gambino video explained

The Recording Academy has made an effort to diversify its membership amid complaints the Grammys have frequently failed to recognize rap and hip-hop artists in the major categories.

Earlier this week in an interview with the New York Times, longtime Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich acknowledged, “We continue to have a problem in the hip-hop world.”

It’s unclear if Childish Gambino’s wins on Sunday change that.

Get ready! Storm will bring icy mix that ends with heavy snow

WQAD News -

Here we go again! After numerous cars and trucks ended up in ditches on Sunday, more wintry weather is anticipated for Monday afternoon.

Precipitation will move into our area after lunchtime today in the form of rain, sleet, and snow. Since temperatures will be around 32, it's likely we'll have a slushy mess for the evening commute.

The wintry mix will changeover to snow sometime during the evening with snow accumulations likely through the morning commute. In the Quad Cities, 3-4 inches of slushy snow is expected with more significant 6"+ accumulations from Cedar Rapids-Iowa City, up to Dubuque (where it remains as snow for most of the evening and overnight).

Cities like Burlington and Galesburg will be just a degree or two warmer which means more sleet and less snow. And there's a chance for some thick ice in Northern Illinois. Conditions are expected to be slick during the overnight and through much of the day on Tuesday. While no alerts are presently in place for areas south of I-80, I expect "Winter Weather Advisories" to be issued for these areas for conditions early Tuesday.

There's quite a bit of moisture with this weather system, thanks to its left-hand turn so far south. As it swings into the Midwest, more Gulf of Mexico moisture can be introduced to the area of low pressure, enhancing the amounts of moisture.

Strong northwesterly winds will move in for the afternoon, possibly gusting up to 30 mph. This could blow the snow around a little bit so prepare for blowing and drifting. Temperatures will fall through the 20s in the afternoon on Tuesday.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

New lane closures begin to impact traffic Monday

WQAD News -

MOLINE, Illinois – A new round of lane closures will begin to impact drivers near downtown Moline on Monday, Feb. 11.

Construction of the new I-74 River Bridge will cause daily lane closures on 6th Avenue between 19th Street and 23rd Street, according to leaders with the project.

The closures will impact traffic for about two weeks.

There will be intermittent flagging to get trucks in and out of the closed lanes and also to move equipment across the road.

Drivers are asked to slow down, plan ahead, and watch for construction workers and their equipment.

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