by William Van Ornum, Ph.D. on
As Evander Lomke mentions on this blog and in the accompanying video, AMHF gave the first Stefan de Schill Award to Astor Services for Children last week. The generosity of the Gould Foundation meant that this presentation could occur in the financial district of New York City. Interestingly, the New York Stock Exchange stood solidly across from us, reminding me of the the founders and fathers of AMHF who used their resources and connections to raise large amounts of money to further mental health. In this day we often turn to the government or expect insurance companies to carry on work like this, but I believe foundations like AMHF possess a special niche in our culture and in mental health treatment. Grants from foundations offer agencies. universities, and individuals an extra boost so they can creatively seek new treatments or expand on education and training–these latter often not included in reimbursement schedules.
So I am especially glad to hear that Astor Services has earmarked their grant for their prestigious mental health training program. Since 1963 Astor has offered a first-rate pre-doctoral program in clinical psychology that is approved by the American Psychological Association. Stefan de Schill would be happy to know that this investment has been made in future professionals who will serve countless persons.
Astor’s CEO Dr. James McGuirk offered in his talk insights which often are forgotten, even by those who work in the mental health field. Jim noted that more children in these United States suffer from mental health and psychiatric problems than those with autism, cerebral palsy, and a number of medical conditions combined. Yes, there is a stigma to acknowledging mental health problems in the family. It is much harder to bring these up with friends or co-workers than the fact that one’s child has a physical illness or even a condition like ADHD. I suspect it will continue to be hard to do, but through education and knowledge I hope this stigma and the difficulty of bringing this forth as a topic will diminish.
These are the forgotten children. Thank You, Dr. McGuirk and thank you Astor Services for Children in seeking out and working with these forgotten children and their families.