On Wednesday, June 9, 2004 the NAMI Policy Research Institute (NPRI) released a task force report on children and psychiatric medications at a pess conference in Washington, D.C. NAMI medical director and child psychiatrist Ken Duckworth will presented. The report provides important perspectives on the need for sound clinical practice and giving parents information to make decisions in the best interests of their children.
The report is available on-line at www.nami.org/kidsmeds
The report will addresses the need to protect rights of access to treatment, the patient-provider relationship, and promotion of partnerships for treatment. It includes policy recommendations, but warns policymakers against taking actions without sound scientific research. It also emphasizes that treatment decisions can only be made on an individualized basis. These concerns are relevant to many recent issues in the news:
*One in 10 children today have a mental illness severe enough to cause impairment, but the Surgeon General has warned that 80 percent never get the treatment they need.
*Psychiatric medications can be life-saving for many children, but require careful weighing of risks and benefits, close monitoring, and frequent evaluation.
*The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) currently has safety and efficacy issues under review concerning the use of antidepressants for children.
*State and local initiatives in some cases have sought to restrict communication between schools and parents about warning signs of mental illnesses.
Read the Press Release.