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Mental Illness Alliance Says Early Intervention Key

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Aired 4/19/09

When it comes to children who have a mental illness, early intervention and evidence-based treatments are essential. That's the word from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The advocacy group is holding its annual meeting in San Diego this week. KPBS reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

One of the sessions at the conference focused on what treatments researchers say produce the best outcomes for children.

Depending on the diagnosis, therapy that concentrates on behavior modification is said to be effective. So is therapy that emphasizes family communication and interaction skills.

Psychologist Barbara Burns is with the Duke University School of Medicine.

Burns : We have, fortunately, a number of effective interventions for very young children, school-aged children, and adolescents. Making those available in the community is sometimes more of a challenge.

The U.S. Surgeon General says up to 20 percent of American children suffer from a diagnosable mental illness.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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