As a parent, you want to provide your child with a beneficial future. But if your child gets charged with a crime, you may worry about your child’s future and if he or she struggles with a mental health issue.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, among the 2 million children and adolescents arrested every year in the U.S., approximately 65 to 70% struggle with some form of mental health disorder. Without treatment, juvenile offenders may continue to struggle and eventually commit a crime as an adult.
Disorders prevalent among juvenile offenders
Some of the most common mental health issues among juvenile offenders are mood, anxiety and substance abuse disorders. Your child may also experience more than one disorder at the same time. For example, your child may struggle with mental illness as well as substance abuse, which can put him or her at a greater risk for committing delinquent acts.
Screening and mental health treatment
After committing a crime, screening can identify juvenile offenders who require immediate mental health attention as well as additional evaluation. This assessment process, when done properly, can determine the risks your child faces as well as options for placement and treatment. Your child’s defense can also present and use this information in court prior to his or her sentencing.
Even after placement in a correctional program and treatment, your child may still need mental health services after his or her release. Unless provided with ongoing treatment, your child may remain vulnerable to behaviors that could result in additional criminal actions.