Renowned Doctor Fights Stigma, Reassures Parents With Candid Keynote

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Annual Benefit Luncheon Attendees Give $119,609 for Clark County Children

“Psychiatric disorders in children are not caused by your mother or father…they are caused by DNA roulette.”

This straight-talking message formed the theme of the keynote address given by renowned child psychiatrist Dr. Harold Koplewicz at our annual benefit luncheon in June.

Dr. Koplewicz is founder of the Child Mind Institute, an independent, national nonprofit that aims to do for children’s mental health disorders what St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has done for childhood cancer: 1) end the stigma, and 2) improve outcomes.

Stigma and outcomes are more connected than one might think.

“Stigma is what interferes today with kids getting the help they need,” said Koplewicz. Weaving together vivid anecdotes and hard-hitting facts, he illustrated the many ways stigma affects outcomes.

Dr. Koplewicz spoke openly about the challenges kids and families face when handling mental health issues. Photo: Janell Marbrey

Stigma delays families from seeking treatment. The average patient exhibits symptoms for two years before getting help! Koplewicz attributes a portion of this delay to parents grappling with misplaced guilt that they’ve done something wrong.

Stigma weakens public outcry. It prevents people from demanding that Congress increase the budget of the National Institute of Mental Health, and specifically for children’s mental health.

“We spend $240 million per year on children’s mental health research…out of the $1.5 billion that the national institute of mental health gets,” said Koplewicz.

Stigma degrades the person’s perception of themselves. Koplewicz shared a gut-wrenching story of one of his own patients who withheld details of his suicidal thoughts because he was ashamed of how sick he really was.

With 17 million kids suffering from a mental health disorder in the United States — and knowing that left untreated these kids will have more academic failure, be more likely to drop out of school, and more likely to go to jail — we can’t afford to allow stigma to impede their treatment.

Ken and Sally Rosengren have personally grappled with the stigma of mental health. Following Dr. Koplewicz’s remarks the couple bravely took the stage to share their own story.

“Parents shouldn’t have to feel that it’s their fault.”

“Parents shouldn’t have to feel that it’s their fault,” said Ken Rosengren. “We could get help for our daughter. What about everybody else who can’t?”

Thanks to their heartfelt appeal and your generosity, $119,609 was raised at the luncheon, which was matched with a $38,000 grant from community partners.

COMMUNITY PARTNERS ADD $38,000 TO TOTAL RAISED

The Tod and Maxine McClaskey Foundation, BNI Clark County, MacKay Sposito and two anonymous donors challenged luncheon guests to match a $38,000 grant. You accepted, raising over $119, 609. Thank you all for being Champions of Hope for Clark County kids!

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