Father thinks the mental health system is broken as he tries to find help for his son

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By Kendall Keys, James Paxson

Michigan (WNEM) — Officials say young people in particular are at higher risk for problems such as depression and anxiety, but helpful resources can be hard to come by.

A middle Michigan dad struggling to find help for his son explains why he thinks the system is broken.

“It’s okay, we’re doing the best we can, but man, I’ll tell you, when you get back to where you were and a year has passed. I’m smiling because I’m trying not to not cry,” Jay Gross said.

TV5 introduced you to Gross about a year ago. “That’s when the nightmare began,” when her Facebook video detailing her struggles to find her son’s mental health care went viral.

He laid out the details of a system he calls broken down as he still struggles to find the right help for his 16-year-old son.

“One minute you’re angry, one minute you’re crying, one minute you feel so helpless because you want to help your child, but you’re walking through this tunnel where there’s no light,” Gross said.

From inside the system, Meghan Dahl, a behavioral health therapist, said the problem was just as apparent.

“I think everyone in healthcare is really doing their best, but when there’s just no availability, we just can’t do much except the best we can. It would be nice if we didn’t have to survive with the resources that we have,” Dahl said.

“As a parent and as a physician, I am deeply concerned that the barriers facing these young people are unprecedented and uniquely difficult to overcome,” said United States Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.

Murthy acknowledged a youth mental health crisis before the Senate Finance Committee demanding more resources and changes to how youth mental health is handled. He wants to put more emphasis on prevention, understand the impact of technology and social media.

Dahl and Gross Hope’s actions follow the Surgeon General’s words.

“Asking for more is definitely a big step. Hopefully we’ll have that follow-up, because it’s one thing to talk about it, it’s another to fund it,” Dahl said.

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