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SPECIAL REPORT: Local experts working to lower America's mental health crisis

One and five kids suffer from a mental, emotional or behavioral disorder. America's youngest are facing a mental health crisis and it's worrying experts.

Posted: Feb 9, 2018 12:37 PM
Updated: Feb 9, 2018 12:54 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — One in five kids suffer from a mental, emotional or behavioral disorder. America's youngest are facing a mental health crisis and it's worrying experts.

-Related: Women shares brother's story to help those struggling with mental health

According to experts at Mental Health America of Tippecanoe County, depression is commonly the root of the issue. Most people would agree, recognizing those signs isn't always easy. 

Licensed therapist, Will Miller said that makes getting help, even harder.

"You get medication and these medications are amazing, a lot of them really are and what they do is working on the brain, they either kind of like lift your mood or if you have anxiety, lower your mood so you can function, but when you put the word function in there, what is your life and what is your lifestyle," said Miller. 

Karla Courtney, Director of Education at Mental Health America, said people need options. Medication doesn't work for everyone. In her experience, many teenagers just want to talk. 

"A lot of them are telling me that their parents just aren't open to that whether it's because of the stigma they saw with mental health growing up or I just don't know, I don't really know what leads parents to be that way it's before my time but kids want to talk," said Courtney. 

She said another issue is a lack of resources. Indiana ranks second in the nation for most attempted suicides by teenagers. 

Courtney said here in Tippecanoe County, the calls they're getting are from younger and younger people, one of the many reasons they started the "Safe2Text" initiative.

"We really want to meet teens where they're at in their preferred method of communication which is texting," said Tenecia Pyle, who helped start the program. 

The program has been around for a little more than a month, and the response speaks volumes to how the issue is affecting kids locally. 

"We've had 171 text conversations that have come through and just 117 this month alone, so there's defintely teens that are using it the more the information gets out the more the teens are accessing the services," said Pyle. 

20% of people ages 13-18 in America, live with a mental health condition. There are about 15 million 10 to 24 year olds living in America. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for people in that age group.

20% of those 15 million people - about 3 million - are ever diagnosed and receive treatment.

Staff at Mental Health America are continuing to implement ways to make getting help easier. In fact, Mental Health Navigator Services was recently launched to help people break down what kind of help they need. 

The free Mental Health Navigator program connects individuals and families seeking mental health and/or substance use services with appropriate providers and supportive services.

To connect with a Mental Health Navigator call Mental Health America at 765-742-1800 or email to schedule an appointment.

If mental health is impacting your life, people are standing by right now who want to help. Below is the number for the 24-Hour Crisis Hotline and the "Safe2Text" number.

Text: SAFE2TEXT at 765-742-0244
Call: 877-419-1632

Additional resources and services can be found by clicking this link. 

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