Molly Lopez
Dr. Molly Lopez

Dr. Molly Lopez, research associate professor at the School of Social Work, authored the op-ed piece “Mental health of children should be priority for all,” published in today’s Austin-American Statesman (read the op-ed here).

In her piece, Lopez argues that adolescence and early adulthood is a crucial time for fostering emotional and mental health, as this is the developmental stage in which many mental health disorders symptoms begin. Current data shows, however, that adults with a lifetime of mental health disorders report that it took an average of 8 to 10 years between the onset of their symptoms and the time they received treatment.

“Texas has made many great strides in mental health care in recent years. In 2012, the Texas Legislature provided additional funds to increase access to mental health services for children, adolescents and adults,” Lopez said. “But we can do more to make sure our young people don’t have to wait eight or more years to have their mental health needs recognized and treated.”

Lopez is a licensed psychologist and director of the School of Social Work’s Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health.