Stories about: mental illness

Children’s takes multifaceted approach in support of childhood mental health

David DeMaso, MD
David DeMaso, MD

This week marks Children’s Mental Health Week and here in Massachusetts we’ve made great strides in ensuring that children and their families have access to high quality mental health care. The passage of 2008’s landmark Act Relative to Children’s Mental Health was a significant step forward in addressing the unmet needs of an estimated 100,000 children who do not receive the mental health care they need. There’s still a lot of work to do, including improving the coordination of care between mental health professionals and families, teachers, pediatric providers and other adults who regularly interact with at-risk children.

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One mother’s story: How strep throat attacked my child’s brain

Heckmann
Maura Heckmann and her son, Chris

Eleven-year-old Chris Heckmann was healthy and in good spirits when his mother, Maura, left him with friends for the night. But when she returned, 24 hours later, her son was unrecognizable. Stricken with paranoia, he refused to eat and paced around the family room, fear in his eyes.

At first, doctors thought Chris had obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). But he was ultimately diagnosed with PANDAS, a controversial neuropsychiatric disorder thought to be related to routine childhood strep infections. Here, Maura tells the story of her son’s rapid decent into illness, and his road to recovery.

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