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Doctor: Early intervention can help mentally-troubled kids

PHOENIX -- Kids seem to be acting out more violently these days and some said the violence could be associated with mental health issues and trauma.

While these children may not act out violently or become criminals as adults, left untreated children who've experience trauma could turn on themselves.

"If we can get in early, while children are still children, we can be enormously helpful in shifting the path kids are on," said Alison Steier, director of mental health services at Southwest Human Development.

The problems that can cause children to veer off-course vary greatly.

"Depression, illicit drug abuse, pulmonary disease, liver disease early childhood trauma is associated with many mental health and physical problems," said Steier.

About 10 to 18 percent of children and adolescents struggle with mental health issues, while a much smaller percentage of those kids get help.

Often parents who suspect their child has a problem is either dismissed by family, friends or a doctor. They might not seek the help their child needs because they don't trust their instinct.

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About the Author


Sandra moved from the small border city of Yuma, Arizona to study Broadcast Journalism at Arizona State University in the late 90s. Since graduating, she's worked at several local TV stations including Univision, Fox 10 and 3TV.

Working at KTAR, has allowed her the opportunity to cover major national news events, including Presidential visits, the Tucson Tragedy and the Wallow fire.

When Sandra isn't covering breaking news or behind a microphone in the studio, she's probably at home with her best friend Mark and her two dogs, Lily and Lola.

Sandra enjoys cooking and admits to enjoying "really bad" reality T.V. She also enjoys spending quiet time at home with people she loves, playing a little poker and traveling.

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