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New reports find an alarming shortage of adolescent mental health care in Georgia

By Julie Waldock

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – A rising number of children and adolescents in Georgia are being diagnosed with mental health disorders, but now some parents are finding that mental health care is not so easy to find.

Published reports out of Macon indicate that Georgia faces a severe shortage of mental health care providers, with only 8 youth and adolescent psychiatrists for every 100,000 residents.

Voices for Georgia’s Children, whose mission is to improve the lives of children, calls the shortage a crisis. About four in five children in need of behavioral health services don’t get them, according to the advocacy group.

Kim Jones said she couldn’t believe how difficult it was to find resources for her child, who was diagnosed with depressive disorder. One obstacle after the next seemed to block her path to finding treatment, she said.

“People were giving us bad advice, saying we just needed to be better parents instead of recognizing that maybe my child was dealing with something that was a medical issue versus a parenting issue,” she said.

After more than 2 months of phone calls, Jones finally found a psychiatrist with an open slot who accepted her son’s insurance. With prescriptions for an antidepressant and an antipsychotic, his condition began to improve, she said.


Feb 7, 2019

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