A child mental-health fix takes early action, more help. Here are 7 ideas

In most ways, Symone is like any other 17-year-old looking forward to her senior year in high school and what life may bring after — college and a career in music therapy or entertainment law, she hopes.

Her teenage years have included some notable highs. She shared the national spotlight as part of the Detroit Youth Choir, which was given a key to the city for “being the Heart, Soul and Spirit of Detroit.”

DAY ONE:Mental health crisis: Children at breaking point during COVID-19 pandemic

DAY TWO:Michigan emergency rooms confront ‘tidal wave of sadness’ among young patients

And yet, Symone said, she can suddenly feel despondent. It comes “randomly,” she said: “It’s like a mind battle.”

“I can have the best day ever, then suddenly I’m sad,” she said. “Like I want to be dead. I want to be dark. I can’t feel light, and I can’t feel happy.”

Which is why she offers this simple plea: “Don’t give up on people with mental health” issues.

In this series, Bridge Michigan and Indianapolis-based Side Effects Public Media have highlighted critical gaps in mental health resources for children and teens across the Midwest — that includes a shortage of psychiatrists, therapists and inpatient beds, and the warehousing of children in hospital emergency rooms as they wait for specialized treatment

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