Speaking on behalf of mentally ill children and teenagers, many of whom are also learning-disabled, and only one-fifth of whom receive treatment or service, Gutkind ( Children's One Place ) accuses goverment, social service professionals and media of ignoring this ``national disgrace.'' The author spent several years following three mentally handicapped adolescents from financially and emotionally ravaged families as they were shuttled among temporary shelters, group homes and a dozen psychiatric institutions where, he claims, they were ``systematically tantalized or tortured with promises of reward or punishment''--$2 million having been spent to no avail on one of his ``proteges.'' Instead, the author of this sympathetic, eye-opening study, urges a radical change from permanent institution-based care to a flexible system of higly individualized child and family therapy, detailed here. (July)
``Disorganized'' and ``overrestrictive'' describe the entire mental health system for children, says Gutkind, author of One Children's Place: A Profile of Pediatric Medicine ( LJ 6/1/90). Gutkind weaves the life stories of three adolescents with mental health problems, and each tale is more disturbing than the last. Parents of such children describe their situations as worse than families with children suffering mental retardation or physical problems. Statistics are grim; less than 25 percent of children with mental illness receive any help at all, and for those who do, parental custody must often be terminated. Gutkind exposes the plight of social and academic institutions anxious to help but mired in a system in which millions of dollars are wasted. The call here is for nontraditional, revolutionary changes in the mental health system. For public libraries.-- Linda Beck, Indian Valley P.L., Telford, Pa.
YA-A series of interviews with mentally ill teens, social workers, and psychiatrists combined with Gutkind's carefully written text highlights the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness that characterize childhood mental illness in the U.S. Frustrations with the medical, governmental, and health-care bureaucracies; the ever-present social stigma; the financial system; and the overwhelming difficulties of dealing with the mentally ill child in a family setting on a day-to-day basis are all addressed. This book is clearly a mandate for immediate reform.-Yvonne Reeder-Tinsley, Floris School, Fairfax County, VA
Rambling and anecdotal, tells how hard it is for children to get mental health treatment and how difficult it is for their families to cope. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)