by Marie Wilson
When a dormant coalition to examine the juvenile justice system in DuPage County began meeting again this spring, Shannon Hartnett pulled some statistics on the roughly 350 to 400 youths who were on probation.
What caught her attention was the mental health problems these young people experience.
Roughly 65 percent of juveniles on probation in March in DuPage had been flagged as having a mental health problem such as depression, bipolar disorder or another mood disorder, said Hartnett, coordinator of the juvenile justice council and program manager of juvenile probation services.
“Every day up in court, you see kids coming in with what we think are undiagnosed, unaddressed mental health issues,” Hartnett said. “There’s just a general lack of awareness about the way mental health impacts behavior.”