Opinion: Adolescent mental health services need to be more accessible


Amanda Booth

Syntero counseling center at Mount Carmel Lewis Center offers a variety of support options for individuals.

Amanda Booth, Staff Writer

In Delaware, Ohio, there are few places to get mental health services. The only mental health services in Delaware are counseling centers. If emergency mental health services are needed for adolescents, they need to go to a normal emergency center, or go to Columbus to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Crisis Care Center.

Confusion Surrounding Care

In Delaware, there are many different counseling centers, but if there is a situation where an adolescent is suicidal and crisis care is needed, it is hard to distinguish what is emergency care versus everyday mental health services like therapy.
For example, searching for “crisis care centers Delaware, Ohio” yields mostly normal counseling centers before listing any emergency mental health centers. This can be very confusing for people in a crisis, when they need to get immediate care and only normal mental health services come up.


Long waitlists can also be a big issue. Adolescents and their families often find an extremely long wait for people in need of mental health treatment. According to the American Psychological Association, the demand for all mental health treatment has increased and therapists have lower capacity for new patients.
This is extremely important, as suicide is the 12th highest cause of death in America. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is the second highest cause of death from ages 10-14 in the United States, and the third highest cause of death for ages 15-24.


Stigma associated with mental illness is also a huge reason why people don’t get help. Someone might not know what to do if they do not feel supported in their mental health journey.
Everyone has their own mental health, but people deal with their emotions in different ways. So there is not an exact answer of what a mental illness does to a person. For example, someone with ADHD could have a completely different experience than another person with the same diagnosis.
In fact, The National Library of Medicine states that individuals dealing with mental health struggles or mental illness must also cope with the stigma associated with mental illness in their community. There are different kinds of stigma, such as stereotypes, discrimination and prejudice.

Change is Necessary

With everything being said, there are many changes that need to be made, not just in the community but also in the medical field. There needs to be more services available, and existing services need to better serve patients’ needs.
Community members also need to be more including and accepting of people’s differences. The suicide rates are too high and there are too much stigma surrounding mental illnesses.


If you or someone you know is exhibiting warning signs of depression or suicidal thoughts/behaviors, or experiencing these signs, please call the new Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988. It is very important to know the warning signs so you can help the person that is struggling as soon as possible.
According to Better Health, some warning signs are the following: Drug and alcohol abuse, distancing from family/friends, loss of interest in activities once found enjoyable, violent actions, running away, self harming, giving away personal possessions, and a decline in grades/quality of work.