Give Voice Now

A Miller-Dwan Foundation campaign to help children with mental illness.

Let's not let mental health be a silent killer (DNT article published Jan. 30, 2011)

Our view: Let's not let mental health be a silent killer (DNT article published Jan. 30, 2011)

Children in the Northland — and far too many of them — are crying out for help, suffering needlessly from illnesses misunderstood, misdiagnosed and, worst, ignored.

By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune


Mental illnesses: We tend not to talk about them, or even acknowledge them. Cheer up, we tell those who are hurting.


Meanwhile, on average in the Northland, two children or young adults every month die from suicides or from drug overdoses — and how many of the overdoses actually are suicides? Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-old Minnesotans and the third-leading cause of death for those in the state 10 to 14 years old.


Making matters worse is our region’s shortage of mental-health professionals, especially psychiatrists. The wait to see a psychiatrist can stretch to six months in the Northland. A lot of downhill can happen in half a year.


So we had better start talking, as we opined a week ago today on this page. If we don’t, the statistics will grow even more alarming and tragedies like Tucson will become even more frequent — and more heart-wrenching when they happen closer to home.


Last week’s Sunday Opinion cover featured plans by the Miller-Dwan Foundation to build a $5 million, lodge-like, outpatient facility for therapy and for the treatment of adolescents with mental-health ailments. As much as the facility is needed, other programs and efforts exist, too. The News Tribune never intended to suggest otherwise.


More needs to be done. Evidence abounds.


So today’s page continues the critical community conversation about mental health and about how we can help people who are suffering.


Let’s let the conversation lead to strategies and solutions. Let’s work together, as a community. Too many of our children are crying for us to do at least that.


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