KIDS: Test scores and mental health

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Having volunteered at Court-Appointed Special Advocates for a year, I know that some parents are drug/alcohol dependent and abusive to their children. This, combined with the state of affairs on the mental health article on Sept. 2, confirms that far too many are getting left behind. It saddens me that this is happening to our innocent children. What chance do these kids have when they enter first grade with parents who neglect, abuse verbally and physically?

These children left behind need early mental health evaluations and counseling to help them develop into productive members of society. Idaho has the third-highest rate of mental health and substance abuse and ranked 50th out of 51 for its combined higher prevalence of mental illness and lower rate of access to care especially in rural areas. Our beautiful state of Idaho isn’t so beautiful when you read these stats. Our suicide rates are ranked one of the worst in the nation.

“The Idaho Legislature has delegated to the Department of Health and Welfare, as the state mental health authority, the responsibility to ensure that mental health services are available throughout the state of Idaho to individuals who need such care and who meet certain eligibility criteria under the Regional Mental Health Services Act, Title 39, Chapter 31, Idaho Code.” It appears that Idaho has fallen quite short of this responsibility.

Sure, mental health resources are expanding slowly. But with these stats that have plagued Idaho for a long time, slowly isn’t good enough. Do we really need a mass shooting at one of our schools for anything to get done?

JoANN LOKKEN

Coeur d’Alene

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