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Format: 04/16/2014
Format: 04/16/2014

News

Allegheny General Hospital’s Dr. Anthony Mannarino Raises Awareness of Teen/Young Adult Mental Health Issues With U.S. Congress, Senators

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Legislative Briefing Marks National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week
PITTSBURGH - Young people ages 16-24, or “transitional age,” stand at risk of developing traumatic stress symptoms stemming from untreated past traumas or current issues unique to their age group, Anthony Mannarino, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH), told members of the U.S. House of Representatives in a legislative briefing this week.
Dr. Mannarino spoke to legislators as part of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. AGH’s Center for Traumatic Stress is part of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, launched by Congress in 2000 as part of the Children’s Health Act. 
“At this critical age, the young adult’s social and emotional development is not yet complete,” Dr. Mannarino told the legislators. “There can be greater impulsivity and risk-taking, often fueled by the electronic media.”
An estimated two-thirds of youth age 16 or older have experienced traumatic life events, Dr. Mannarino said. Twenty-five percent of all girls and 10-15 percent of boys have been sexually assaulted by their 18th birthday, and 20-25 percent of all youth have witnessed intimate partner violence.
“While the most vulnerable transitional-age youths include those with developmental disorders such as autism, homeless youth, LGBTQ youth, and those who are transitioning out of foster or institutional care, even young people on traditional paths to college can be hit by major stressors,” Dr. Mannarino said.
“College students can struggle with newfound freedom, pervasive drug and alcohol use and sexual assault. Non-college students may struggle with joblessness, social isolation, and parental conflicts for those still living at home,” Dr. Mannarino said.
Symptoms of traumatic stress can include sleep problems, emotional numbing, anger or irritability, poor concentration, depression, anxiety or behavior problems. Untreated, these symptoms can progress to serious adult psychiatric difficulties including depression, anxiety disorders and suicidal behaviors.
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, developed by Dr. Mannarino, Judith Cohen, MD, Medical Director of the Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents at AGH, and Esther Deblinger, Ph.D. of Rutgers University, has the most research support of any treatment for children suffering from traumatic stress and is used throughout the U.S. and worldwide.
Dr. Mannarino also met and discussed children’s mental health issues with U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, PA-18, U.S. Sen Pat Toomey, R-PA, and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-PA.
 
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