Mental Health Treatment for Children

Vanessa Krause

Education 362



Mental Health Proposal


Mental Health Treatment for Children:


Proposal created 24 days ago in the Health of youth and children group by Vanessa Krause




Reference to a current michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal:



Act 258 of 1974


330.1401 "Person requiring treatment”

  • An individual who has mental illness, and who as a result of that mental illness can reasonably be expected within the near future to intentionally or unintentionally seriously physically injure himself, herself, or another individual, and who has engaged in an act or acts or made significant threats that are substantially supportive of the expectation.

  • An individual who has mental illness, and who as a result of that mental illness is unable to attend to those of his or her basic physical needs such as food, clothing, or shelter that must be attended to in order for the individual to avoid serious harm in the near future, and who has demonstrated that inability by failing to attend to those basic physical needs.


Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan:

This proposal will help students and children all over the state of Michigan because it will provide them the resources they need as a patient suffering with a mental health disorder. This idea could potentially help many children suffering day and night from their bad thoughts that unfortunately they aren’t always able to control. With 24 hour care, they can be on the road to recovery quicker and happier than ever.

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?

Every Thursday night student athletes from the University of Michigan go to Mott’s Children Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan to visit sick patients. I first heard about this issue when I was visiting Mott’s and decided to visit floor twelve that evening which was something new for me. I noticed this floor was different from all the rest. We, student athletes, did not travel to their rooms, take pictures and talk with their families. In fact, most of these patients didn’t have family members who were there to visit them, which I thought was very unusual since the rest of the times I had visited patients their parents were there beside them.

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal?

Since my service activity took place at Mott’s, I was able to see and hear first hand from nurses that this was a problem. Mott’s only having 16 beds for patients was nothing short of pathetic. There are more than 16 children suffering from mental health in the state of Michigan. The nurses know they are dealing with very sick patients and do everything they can to treat them fast and efficiently. This is to make sure the sick patients currently being treated are receiving the best treatment so they do not relapse and so that way they can bring in the next child who is looking for intense care.

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

My media artifact and my proposal were on different topics.

My media artifact was on the Deer Cull in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Link to media artifact:



Talk directly with at least 3 real live people who have special knowledge about this topic or the impact your proposal would have, and summarize their comments. These may include people appearing in your media artifact (video, podcast, etc.).


Steve, who is a nurse for child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Michigan, informed me that they are strictly an outpatient clinic. They see children to the age of 18 and depending on how often you receive treatment maybe up to 18 and 6 months or even 19 years old.  Children are seen by doctors here for all mental health illnesses, “everything under the sun”, but are not welcome to stay the night. Patients would come here if they were looking for emergency care for psych, but not hospitalization. Steve also informed me that they see so many patients that they too, like Mott’s, have a problem having enough open beds. Steve had explained that he wished there was more help for children at a young age, whether that is treatment or medication. This way children could get the help they need and overcome their illness before it gets bad or too serious to turn back. Steve said, “Since we are an outpatient clinic, we can only do so much for the children while they are here. We are not able to look over them day and night and help cure them like Mott’s”.


Cindy works at Oakland Psychological in Livonia, Michigan where she helps treat people of all ages from their mental illnesses and addictions. This facility is also strictly outpatient, but this facility helps people with all addictions, from alcoholics to constant depression. There are also families that come in for family therapy, as well as couples who receive marital help. At Oakland Cindy works with doctors to provide their patients with the best psychiatric and medication management. Unfortunately, the Oakland Psychological clinic does not have separate child psych units. Almost all of their patients are 19 or older due to the fact that they do not have seperate resources for children.


Curtis is a volunteer at the University of Michigan’s children’s hospital. He is one of the volunteers for Michigan From The Heart, he takes the student athletes throughout the hospital to visit sick patients. Curtis informed me of a clinic like the one I am proposing, although it is on the easternmost part of the state of Michigan and he also believes it should be a statewide program. This clinic is called Havenwyck Hospital which is located in Havenwyck, Michigan. Curtis thought the state should make an education program to inform the general public about this problem. This way, the education program could institute an early diagnosis for children to prevent the need later on for residential help.


Jack is another volunteer at Motts Children Hospital on the University of Michigan campus. I met jeff on floor 11 which is the children’s cardiovascular floor. Jack, like Curtis, is a volunteer for Michigan From the Heart. He began to do this years ago and started to visit floor 11 when he lost his five year old granddaughter to Metabolic Syndrome. I always knew Jack was a kind and helpful man so I asked if he would be interested in giving me insight about mental health units within Michigan. Jack told me there was no existing place like mine. Jack informed me that there used to be units in Michigan for children with mental health condition, but it became expensive and the state didn't want to fund them anymore so they were shut down. He told me it was very unfortunate how overlooked mental health is and he wished it was taken more seriously and in order to do that, the state needs to realize that this is a bigger problem then years previous, last month, and even yesterday. Unfortunately, there has only been an increase in suicide rates of young teen and if communities and families want to change this they'll need bigger and more aggressive plans like the ones I have made.



Describe the specific issue or problem, being sure to provide sufficient context so that someone less familiar with the issue has a sense of the bigger picture, but know that your focus here is on a more detailed spelling out of the specific problem or issue that you’ve identified. (250 words minimum)

Every Thursday night Mott’s children hospital welcomes the student athletes from the University of Michigan to visit with sick patients. There are different sicknesses on different floors of the hospital at Mott’s such as, cancer is floor 7, cardiovascular is floor 11, and 8 is child psych. Occasionally I’ll visit the psych floor where patients are treated with child and adolescent psychiatry, developmental behavioral pediatrics, adolescent medicine, pediatric psychology, nursing, child life and social work. Some of these patients struggle with some or all of the following, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder; pervasive developmental disorders; psychotic disorders, mood, and anxiety; parent-child relational issues; and substance-related mood or behavioral disorders. Though the problem that Mott’s, as well as other hospitals throughout Michigan face is the fact that they only have availability for sixteen patients. This means, out of all of these mental health issues stated above and others not mentioned, this hospital can only host sixteen patients at a time. Three of the sixteen rooms are for children who have or showed aggression towards others. This is to keep nurses, families, and other sick patients safe in case the patient acts out and becomes aggressive. There is no way of knowing how long patients will stay. I asked a nurse how long patients typically stay and he had told me that the average stay was 7 to 10 days. Although, he mentioned a patient who was there for almost a month. The stay depends on where the child is in their recovery stage and if they are willing to continue treatment so that they do not relapse with their mental illness’. Children are always turned away because of a full floor and are told to return home until they have room or they have the option of traveling to another hospital. The patients are given the ability to call in and talk to psychiatrists or pay them a visit at Mott’s, but if there isn’t room for them to stay, they’re turned away and place on a wait list. This is not an ideal idea, sending a child with a mental illness home will give them the time to over think and maybe even harm themself and have an emergency visit to the hospital. There is a way to help children, men and women, fix their thoughts and actions in order to keep them happy, healthy, and safe for the rest of their years. According to America’s Health Rankings, “There were more than 44,190 deaths by suicide in 2015, making it the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth aged 10 to 14”. I believe the state of Michigan can create a facility with enough nurses to take care of these children who are suffering from these illnesses and have a class about suicide prevention for these children and their families. Mental health takes a toll on a person, but can also affect a family as much as it does the patient.


Potential Solutions:

Describe three reasonable, feasible potential solutions or approaches that would help address this problem.


The first way to fix this problem would be for the state to build a 24 hour clinic where children suffering from mental health can come and receive the help and treatment they need to feel better.


The state can make additions to existing hospitals to make more rooms and beds in order to have more opportunities to improve their mental health.


Having the state make mental health a bigger deal while children are still in elementary and middle school to improve their mental health and prevent inadequate behaviours as young adults.


Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:

You must solicit a critique from a topic coordinator, and explain the impact that advice has had on the final draft of this proposal.

When meeting with Professor Fahy he told me to think about how many people who need care that aren't getting it.

He also made me think about what the consequences were. This means, what could a lack of hospitalization for children with mental health lead to---crime, violence, or even self harm. Some children take matters into their own hands and do not make the best or the safest decisions. The option of more beds for these children with mental illness will prevent them from taking matters into their own hands.

Professor Fahy also made me aware of other remedies. These may include an explanation of what already exists. This could also mean using a facility that already exists and extending the staff, rooms, and making it a 24 hour clinic for sick patients to go to.


Research process:

Describe your research process — indicate who you talked to (including but not limited to consultants), what you read, what your thinking was, how it changed over time, and how your consultants changed your thinking. This description of your research process definitely could include “dead ends,” or ideas you had that didn’t ultimately bear fruit.  In short, we want to know what you did and how it led to your legislation, and we also want you to give us a window into your thought process.

I first observed at Mott’s children hospital during my volunteering hours. I talked to nurses and listened to what they had to say and presented my topic to them to see if my idea could really be presented in front of the state and taken seriously. Steve and Cindy were very helpful when explaining their daily routines when taking care of patients and how they had to remember to separate their emotional feelings towards patients. This was important to note because as I looked into this topic I didn’t think of who is affected by mental health. The patient is affected directly by the mental illness, but also the families and nurses of the patient who are trying to lead them down the long road of recovery.

I also looked to see if waiting time for patients was truly a problem, according to U.S. News, there were mental health bills passed within the first few months of the 2018 year. However, "This doesn't add more psychiatric beds," said Whiteford, a Casco Township Republican, although he stated, "But this gives us a chance to utilize every single one”. Hospitals are already utilizing all of the beds and rooms that they have to offer. Although, if they had a seperate facility that had more beds, more patients could be seen and helped.


Author contributions:

Please delineate--in detail--who made what contributions to the process and to the finished proposal? Who took on which responsibilities in researching ideas, drafting language, etc.?

I worked by myself, all of the research and interviews was done by myself.


The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform.


Preambulatory clauses

These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.

WHEREAS.... This idea will cost the state a lot of money and may take that money away from other problems with equal importance.

WHEREAS.... There is a facility in Havenwyck, Michigan already and the state may think that it is enough.

WHEREAS.... Consultants estimate that the cost to launch a small primary care practice ranges from $70,000 to more than $100,000 – an estimation that includes the money needed for rent, insurance, payroll, and living expenses for the first few months (

WHEREAS…. The percentage of children taking their own life is too high and it’s only increasing yearly.


Operative clauses

These describe in detail, the solution you are proposing (not the problem itself; those should go in the "Whereas" clauses above).


1.  The state approves my bill and allows the health department of Michigan to break ground and begin building a clinic for children suffering from a mental health illness.

2. The state of Michigan can save money by making additions to already existing hospitals or utilize space that isn’t being used to help cure children with mental health illnesses.

3. The state can fund middle schools and elementary schools to have more counselors and psychiatrists to help the problem of mental health at an earlier stage.

(Add more "Resolved" clauses if necessary.)



What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?

1.  This approach will take a lot of time and money to begin.

2. There may not be enough psychiatrists or counselors interested in a facility like this or beginning to treat children at such a young age.

3.  The state could say it isn’t their problem and that the problem starts at home, saying the parents should take care of their children.


Costs and funding:

What will your proposal cost (in direct expenses, lost tax revenue, lost economic opportunity, and/or non-monetary costs)? How will you pay for your proposed legislation? Where will/could the funding for your proposal come from?  Who might object to dedicating resources to your proposal (competing interests)?


Although my proposal is very beneficial, it comes with a significant cost. There will have to be start up costs and continuing costs paid weekly and monthly for staff, utilities, and treatments. According to the website Doctorly, “Consultants estimate that the cost to launch a small primary care practice ranges from $70,000 to more than $100,000 – an estimation that includes the money needed for rent, insurance, payroll, and living expenses for the first few months”. This clinic that the state should open will benefit so many children that the cost shouldn’t matter. If the state of Michigan was able to save at least one life a year that would be putting them in the right direction. Currently, almost 11 percent of teens ages 15-19 think about suicide and some unfortunately take their own life. The thoughts of Michigan’s legislatures should not be on the cost to build and run this facility, it should be on saving the lives of 11 percent of teenagers in the state of Michigan.

That 11 percent of teens can also be helped by my alternate idea of starting certain forms of treatment at a younger age. The idea was to incorporate more counselors and psychiatrist in elementary and middle schools. This would cost the state a significant amount less than building a clinic, although it wouldn’t be as effective or as aggressive of a treatment. The state would have to pay the new psychiatrists and counselors a salary, but I do not think it would be difficult to find space for them. Their job would be to evaluate students as well as ask teachers how students are behaving in class and if they’re able to keep up with the course work.

The final solution is asking the state of Michigan to grant hospitals money in order to make additions to the existing building. This way the cost would be roughly half or even less of what it would be to build from scratch. These additions would include more space and bedding for children who are looking to have their mental health improved by doctors and educated staff members. Contractors, new staff and the additions will have to be paid for, but the cost should not be the states priority. The main priority should be set on increasing mental health of adolescents and giving them the resources they need in order to be healthy and happy children.





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Total votes: 29