mental health

Medicating Children

Dec 3, 2012
Pink Sherbet Photography / Flickr

Kids and drugs don't mix, unless you're talking about antipsychotic medication. Then they go together like peanut butter and jelly.

From 2001 to 2007, the number of preschool-age kids on such drugs increased by almost half. Between 1996 and 2005, school-age kids using anti-depressants increased even more. Experts disagree on whether we're overmedicating our youth.

Washington Senator Patty Murray has asked Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to provide a timeline for a review of how the military diagnoses PTSD and other behavioral health issues.

The main entrance of Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Wash.
John Ryan / KUOW

Editors' Note: This story contains graphic descriptions of suicide. If you or someone you know might be suicidal, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 800.273.8255 (800.273.TALK).

Western State Hospital in Lakewood is the largest psychiatric institution in the Pacific Northwest. Its mission statement says the hospital:

Megan Templeton sitting outside
Suzanne Kuhns

Editors' Note: This story contains graphic descriptions of suicide. If you or someone you know might be suicidal, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 800.273.8255 (800.273.TALK).

In the past decade, a dozen Western State Hospital patients have killed themselves. More than a hundred others have tried.  Megan Templeton was the most recent. In April, she hanged herself in her hospital room. She had turned 20 the day before.

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