I am personally grateful that I went to medical school and became an Adult and Child Psychiatrist. Why? Because mental health is the most important part of a person’s well-being. Happy individuals with healthy thoughts create a society in which we can all thrive. We need to think of our children and our future. We need to get rid of the stigma of mental health and focus on mental wellness.
Did you know there is a shortage of Child Psychiatrists in the U.S.A.?
According to the American Academy of Adult and Child Psychiatry, there are approximately 8,300 practicing child and adolescent psychiatrists in the United States — and over 15 million youths in need of one.
I just attended an amazing MasterPsych conference presented by the American Physician Institute in Laguna, California last October. Guess what discussion I engaged my “kindred spirit” child psychiatry colleagues in during our lunch breaks?
Integrative mental wellness and collaborative care.
Using the least amount of medications.
Spending time with our patients.
We talked about the importance of tools such as solution oriented therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), nutrition, exercise, yoga, meditation, parent training, and psychoeducation. As doctors, we know how and when to prescribe medication and value all of the clinical trials that have been done to support the treatment when needed.
I believe that a Child Psychiatrist is the best person to decide if a child would benefit from being placed on a medication for behavioral issues. The dilemma we have is that there are not enough of us. We need to solve the problem of shortage of well-trained child psychiatrists and be a part of the solution for our children getting the proper treatment.
WE NEED A PARADIGM SHIFT. NOW.
Step one is getting rid of the stigma of mental health in our society. Doctors of all specialties and subspecialties need to respect and hold mental health in high regard. In medical school I excelled in many rotations as a third year medical student, even surgery. When I declared psychiatry as my residency choice there was a definite stigma from my colleagues. I moved forward with passion and strong conviction that psychiatry was the right fit for me. I believe that mental health is the foundation of all health and wellness. It should be integrated into all health care.
As Child Psychiatrists we need to be open to being part of the solution of attracting more medical students into our profession. We need to be thought leaders in supervising pediatricians on mental health diagnosis’. If we have a proper system in place then I believe the children will get the right treatment and be put on the least amount of medication.