JESSICA FEHRENBACHER Correspondent
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
While working with youths, we meet young people in all stages of
Some come into our agency as outgoing, confident high school seniors,
while others are shy, awkward freshmen.
The opportunities to see the young people develop and find their way
during our time together is inspiring.
What can make the situation heartbreaking is when a young person with
mental health problems crosses our paths.
Mental health problems never have had a stigma for me.
I've grown up with true respect for those who have a mental disorder
or illness and those who help treat those with problems.
Before working with youths, I worked with people who had mental
My family includes a psychiatrist and social worker.
A social worker once told me, "You wouldn't judge someone who has
diabetes or heart problems, why would you judge someone who has a mental
illness differently? It's the way they are made; it's chemical."
Often when youths show signs of mental illness, families want
concrete answers to explain why the child has these problems.
The causes of mental illness are complicated, according to www.samsha.com, Mental health
in children and adolescents are caused mostly by biology and
environment. Examples of biological causes are chemical imbalances in
the body, damage to the central nervous system (such as a head injury)