Experts Advocate for Better Mental Health Resources and Juvenile Justice

West Virginia Public Broadcasting - The organization Mental Health Matters is holding a series of panel presentations around the state to advocate for juvenile justice and community-based mental health care for youth. Read/Listen

Yesterday's forum, the second of six, was held at the University of Charleston and included panelists from mental health, education and legal backgrounds. During the forum, panelists discussed West Virginia's lack of funds for mental and behavioral health intervention, a lack of coordination of services and the statewide deficit of therapists and counselors.

Panelists called on legislators to aggressively fund existing mental health services – especially in schools – citing West Virginia's high youth confinement rate as an example of the state's failure to help those in need. Over the last 16 years, youth confinement has declined in almost every state except West Virginia, where the confinement rate has grown by almost 50 percent, according to a Mental Health Matters press release. West Virginia has the second highest youth incarceration rate in the nation.

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