WBUR

Are The Kids All Right?

Jesse Costa/WBUR

IT’S BEEN FIVE YEARS since a federal judge issued a scathing ruling accusing Massachusetts of not providing adequate mental health services to children on public health insurance. The landmark case, Rosie D. v. Romney, has had broad implications on the diagnosis and treatment of all Massachusetts children who need mental health care. Although there have been many reforms in the five years since the suit, several challenges remain. We check in on how care has changed since Rosie D.

WBUR’s Deborah Becker and Monica Brady-Myerov report.

Listen to the full series:


Part 1: One Family’s ‘Traumatic’ Struggle For Mental Health Care

To open our series on children’s mental health care in Massachusetts, one local family speaks candidly about its struggle for a clear diagnosis and a helpful treatment plan. It’s a years-long story of doctors, tests, medications, addiction, treatments and the continued search for the best way forward.

Part 2: Parents Divided By The Medication Debate

The Donovan family has chosen not to medicate its son. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The most controversial topic surrounding children and mental health issues is medication. In the second report, we examine the divergent choices two families have made about whether to put a child on psychiatric drugs.

Part 3: Mental Health Screening Exposes Access Problems

“If I had a child with a serious emotional disorder in ... Massachusetts I would do everything I could to have them on Medicaid than on private commercial insurance,” said Marylou Sudders, of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

In the third report of our week-long series, we look at how doctors screen children for mental illness. Recently they’ve started giving parents a questionnaire to more clearly identify problems, but this tool has uncovered a bigger issue: getting kids help for their mental illness.

Part 4: Provider Shortage Leaves Parents Searching, Doctors Overwhelmed

Michelle Brennan says it took her about 18 months to find a children's mental health doctor. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

In the fourth report of our week-long series, we look at a disheartening problem: the shortage of pediatric mental health providers in Massachusetts means many of the kids who need help aren’t getting it. It’s a doctor shortage that’s expected to get even worse.

Part 5: Stakes High For Improving Mass. Children’s Mental Health System

From left, Barbara Leadholm, the state Department of Mental Health commissioner, Lisa Lambert, executive director of the Parent Professional Advocacy League, and Dr. Gene Beresin, director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Training at Massachusetts General Hospital, in WBUR's Studio 3 (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

All this week, we’ve gotten a glimpse of some of the deficiencies in children’s mental health care in Massachusetts. To close our series, we hosted an in-studio discussion to explore what can be done to improve care in the state.

This series aired Jan. 31 to Feb. 4, 2011 on WBUR 90.9

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