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Mental health encompasses one’s emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing, and is an essential component of overall health. Mental health problems in children include a wide breadth of conditions that vary in degree of severity, ranging from mild, to moderate, to severe. According to the Mayo Clinic, mental health disorders in young people are “generally defined as delays or disruptions in developing age-appropriate thinking, behaviors, social skills or regulation of emotions. These problems are distressing to children and disrupt their ability to function well at home, in school or in other social situations.” Empirical evidence confirms that most mental health disorders follow a developmental course that typically starts early in life. As explained by the National Institute of Mental Health “this is true not only of conditions such as autism and ADHD, which are well known for having onset in childhood, but also for mood, anxiety, and psychotic disorders. So, many people who suffer from depression, social phobia, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia showed signs before they were 24 years old.” To further illustrate the dire mental health problems among children in America, consider the following statistics:

  • The Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology published findings from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health that estimated 6.1 million children between the ages of 2 to 17 had been diagnosed with attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that an estimated 3.2 million adolescents between the ages of 12 to 17 had at least one major depressive episode (which makes up 13% of the US population in that age group).
  • According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) depression and bipolar disorder affect approximately 14% of young people between the ages of 13 to 17. 
  • Data reported in the 2017 National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A) estimates approximately 2.2% of young people between the ages of 13 to 18 had generalized anxiety disorder. 
  • The NIMH reports finding that nearly 9.1% of adolescents between the ages of 13 to 18 had social anxiety disorder (SAD), and an estimated 1.3% had severe impairment.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 7.4% of children between the ages of 3 to 17 have a diagnosed behavior problem, which totals nearly 4.5 million young people.
  • Recent data found the suicide rate among teens was 10.6 deaths for every 100,000 teens, making suicide the second leading cause of death among teens ages fifteen to nineteen. 

Data presented from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that an estimated 49.5% of children aged 13-18 in America had AMI (any mental illness). Of the nearly fifty percent of adolescents with AMI, approximately 22.2% had severe impairment. According to findings from the World Health Organization’s World Mental Health Survey Initiative half of all mental health conditions start by age 14 but most cases go undetected and untreated. In the fall of 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics along with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Children’s Hospital Association declared a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health

Further Information and Support

For most of us, life can be very stressful, leading us to feel emotionally charged, which can cause anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and getting stuck in a cycle of being burdened with negative thoughts. Navigating through the challenges and emotional turmoil of life can be overwhelming, but you do not have to go through it alone. Engage Treatment is a Joint Commission Accredited professional psychological practice. We specialize in treating children, teens, and young adults struggling with depression and anxiety through community-focused treatment plans that incorporate a carefully selected combination of therapeutic interventions. Our compassionate, multidisciplinary practitioners are devoted to providing the highest quality of care that helps ignite positive change and enables clients to reach optimal health and well-being. Please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. We are happy to answer questions and provide you with any additional information. Feel free to call us at 805-497-0605 or email us at [email protected]. You are also welcomed to get in touch by filling out our contact form. We look forward to connecting and having the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to support you.

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