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Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter, is not known to have been professionally treated for mental illness. In that he was not alone. Across the country, many youth who need help the most are not getting it.
Almost two-thirds of teens with a lifetime mental disorder fail to get professional help, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Of all those teens with mental health issues, those with severe mental disorders get treatment even less often, with half reporting they have never been seen or treated by a professional therapist.
Recent budget cuts, a shortage of mental health therapists, and inadequate community health services are among the reasons for the lack of treatment, mental health professionals say. Many health insurance plans don't cover mental health therapy. Teens and their parents are often reluctant to acknowledge the need for professional help and may not know where to turn.
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