24 months ago in a small Minnesota town, a mentally unstable student murdered and wounded 14 students before killing himself (my April 2005 weblog posting).

Jeff Weise also kept an outrageous website openly referencing homicide and suicide. Jeff was also denied treatment and prescribed Prozac*. After the carnage, Red Lake community found the money for a mental health family center to counsel troubled youth.

At that time in Minnesota there were 15 child psychiatrists in the entire state (population about 4 million) and the student to counselor ratio in MN high schools was 900 to 1.

As a child advocate (long time guardian ad Litem) I strongly feel the need for mental health therapy for those who need it. The children I work with have been severely traumatized and need adequate attention paid to their needs.

In my many years as a guardian ad-Litem it has been my experience that at risk children don’t get help until after their behaviors have become unmanageable and dangerous. Often the help they get comes in the form of a pill and not the personal professional counselling that they really need.

A Hennepin county judge has shared with me the psychotropic drug medications being taken by children in her courtroom. It is truely unbelievable how many disturbed and undertreated youth walk among us.

When attention to mental health services comes earlier, our communities can save themselves from the immense suffering that follows these horrific events.

* Not too many years from now it is my hope that we will recognize the repercussions of legally drugging children with psychotropic medications without adequate mental health services. Today we can only read about these consequences in the newspaper.

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