One teen, 10 psychiatric drugs. This must stop!

photo of Dr. Peter Jensen

by Peter S. Jensen, MD, REACH founder and board chair

On August 27, The New York Times ran an article by Matt Richtel titled “This Teen Was Prescribed 10 Psychiatric Drugs. She Is Not Alone.” It documents the practice of “polypharmacy”: prescribing multiple medications—most of which have not been tested either in children or in combination with one another—to manage young patients’ depression or anxiety.

That young patients are being prescribed potent cocktails of untested drugs is obviously wrong. The question is, how did we get to this point, and what can we do about it?

Read Peter's full editorial about psychopharmacy for adolescents

Suicide prevention

photo of sad boy hiding his face

Suicide is among the top 3 causes of death for American young people aged 10 to 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Another CDC report says that, in 2019, 18.8 percent of teens reported having considered suicide -- and that was before Covid significantly damaged young people's mental health.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Join us in fighting to make mental health care more widely available to children and adolescents in crisis.

Throughout the month, we are posting suicide prevention resources and messages on social media. Follow us to stay informed and join the battle!

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If you or someone you love is considering suicide, seek help immediately. One option is the national Suicide and Crisis Hotline: Call or text 988 or chat

REACH in the News

Upcoming Trainings

photo of a role-playing exercise during a training session

Take advantage of one (or more!) of the many learning opportunities we're offering this fall! All courses are offered virtually, so you can hone your skills from the comfort of your home or office.

Also, check out the many sessions of Patient-Centered Mental Health in Pediatric Primary Care being offered in 2023, including (drum roll, please) in-person sessions!  Virtual sessions are also available. This course is for pediatricians, nurse practitioners, and other pediatric primary care providers. The more clinicians we can reach, the more children can receive evidence-based mental health care. Spread the word!

See all REACH Institute trainings

A Note from our CEO

Lisa Hunter Romanelli, PhD

CEO, The REACH Institute

Too many young people are living in such despair that suicide feels like their best option. I'm sure you are as alarmed as I am over the rising number of children who have considered suicide.

In REACH courses, primary care practitioners learn how to screen for suicidal thoughts and when to send patients to the emergency room.

You, too, can help prevent suicide! If a young person -- or adult, for that matter -- seems unusually "down":

  • Ask how they feel. Asking if a person has considered suicide does not increase the chances of an attempt.
  • Listen, without judgment or overreaction.
  • Get help. Call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Hotline, consult a medical professional, or go straight to the ER if danger seems imminent.
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