Research confirms the disparities in access to mental health services between African-American and white youth. African-Americans are consistently less likely than their white counterparts to seek out or receive mental health treatment. When it's time for school, schools are often left with the serious task of "diagnosing" what mental health/learning issues students may have.
The result of being diagnosed by schools, more often than not lead to students having Individual Education Plans (IEP). In my opinion a IEP is nothing more than a gerbil wheel; a tracking device that students never seem to shake. The IEP will follow them from K-12, it is a label that limits the student's ability to grow. Unfortunately, in more instances than not, schools push students with IEPs aside, while receiving federal dollars for their special education.
Now there is a new diagnosis for hard to deal with youth, Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED). I shudder to think what schools can and/or will do with this diagnosis. Is the IED diagnosis just another label, or is it something that could bring students who really need help closer to getting the necessary mental health care services?
The condition is characterised by persistent and uncontrollable anger attacks. A new study, based on a household survey of 10,148 young teenagers in the US, found that nearly two thirds had a history of anger attacks involving real or threatened violence.
It also found that one in 12 met strict criteria for a diagnosis of IED. Across the US, that would equate to almost six million individuals.
IED, recognised as an impulse control disorder, usually begins in late childhood and persists through the middle years of life.
To be diagnosed with IED, a person must at any time in life have had three episodes of ''grossly out of proportion'' impulsive aggressiveness.
For the new study, published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, a more stringent definition of IED was used which ruled out other mental disorders contributing to angry outbursts.
The research also indicated that IED was not being properly treated. Although 37.8 per cent of teenagers with the disorder obtained treatment for emotional problems, only 6.5 per cent were specifically given help with anger management.
Lead researcher Professor Ronald Kessler, from Harvard Medical School in the US, said: ''If we can detect IED early and intervene with effective treatment right away, we can prevent a substantial amount of future violence perpetration and associated psychopathology.''