KID’S VOICE – PROMOTING RESILIENCY: RETHINKING MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES FOR VULNERABLE CHILDREN
Vicki Martin, MD, is a board certified child & adolescent psychiatrist with over 20 years of experience. In addition to her clinical practice, Dr. Martin has served as a medical director at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia and clinical consultant to non-profit child welfare/community-based organizations and managed care organizations. She has published articles and received awards for clinical service and teaching excellence, and has proven herself a leader in establishing “best practice” standards. Dr. Martin was selected for a 2008 ACE award by the Department of Behavioral Health of the City of Philadelphia for her work in promoting medication safety on child and adolescent inpatient units.
Over the past twenty years, Dr. Martin became increasingly disillusioned with the mental health system, particularly for vulnerable children in foster care and those living in poverty. These children are much more likely to be prescribed psychiatric medication and are frequently exposed to multiple off-label medications (medication cocktails). In addition, these vulnerable youth often receive inadequate or even unprofessional therapeutic services.
In recent years, Dr. Martin has developed and conducted training programs for non-MD clinicians (psychologists, social workers, therapists, and child advocates), educating them about the dangers of polypharmacy. Her trainings focus on strategies these clinicians can employ to assure their clients are receiving appropriate trauma-based therapy BEFORE medication is even considered. Dr. Martin strongly advocates that children in foster care deserve a second opinion regarding their overall treatment plan.
Dr. Martin currently provides clinical consultations for youth involved in the child welfare system in Philadelphia. She frequently writes and speaks about the struggle she faces as a child psychiatrist trying to do the right thing for her patients’ despite the “system”.