Since moving to Aberdeen just after Christmas, I have had trouble finding specialized psychiatric care for my adolescents because the providers here are either general practice or do not see adolescents at all.
As a mother of six children, three of which have behavior disorders — two requiring daily medication for these disorders — I had to jump through a lot of hoops in order to get a local adult psychiatrist to see my teenage son, who, without his medication, can be unmanageable and violent.
I've discussed this issue with the Department of Social Services, local mental health offices and school counselors from both the middle and high schools, with the general consensus from all of them that, in order to obtain specialized psychiatric care for adolescents, I would have to go to communities such as Sioux Falls or Rapid City, which are both hours of travel time away. This is not only inconvenient, but expensive for a family with six children in a middle class income bracket.
I write this letter as a plea to the public mental health field to give consideration for the desperate need for specialized mental health care of children and adolescents for families like mine in this area. As a full-time student of psychology with the intention of working with children and adolescents in the future, it is my goal to make this a priority in the local Aberdeen community, and I am interested in any input from my community on this issue in order to gain a better perspective of how this community advocates for its children.