In an article written for the Washington Post, freelance journalist Kelly Burch explores what happens to children with mental illness when they can no longer live at home. Many parents with a chronically mentally ill child have had to make a difficult choice. Is it better for the stability of the family, and the needs of the affected child, to place them in a residential treatment facility rather than keeping them at home?

Mental illness among children is more common than you might think. An estimated 17.1 million U.S. kids have a psychiatric disorder. This is more than the number of children with cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined. Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14, and 13 percent of American children ages 8 to 15 will experience a severe mental disorder, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

It’s a public health crisis, yet still a taboo subject.  Parents are sometimes ‘blamed’ for the problem. They can be made to feel like failures if they send their kids outside the home for treatment, which only further stigmatizes the issue.  Read the complete article in the Washington Post here.