The U.S. mental health system has huge gaps that prevent millions of people with psychological problems, including children and teens, from receiving effective treatment that could prevent tragic consequences, experts told U.S. lawmakers on Thursday.

Just over a month after the shooting rampage in Newtown, Connecticut, experts told a Senate hearing that three-quarters of mental illnesses emerge by age 24, but fewer than one in five youths with diagnosable problems receive treatment that could avoid later problems including violence and suicide.

Overall, experts said as many of 45 million Americans experience mental illnesses such as depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and drug abuse each year. But only 38 percent get treatment.

via U.S. mental health experts urge focus on early treatment | Reuters.