CDC Finds Up to 20% of U.S. Children Have Mental Health Disorders
As many as one in five individuals in the U.S. under age 18 experience a mental health disorder each year, and that rate is climbing, according to a CDC report released Thursday, the Washington Post reports.
The report -- which is the first comprehensive examination of the mental health of U.S. children -- found that such illnesses cost about $247 billion annually in decreased productivity, juvenile justice, special education and treatment.
The report cited a pair of studies that found mental health disorders among adolescents are on the rise. For example, a recent study found that hospital stays among children for mood disorders increased from 10 to 17 admissions per 100,000 individuals between 1997 and 2010. Further, another recent study found that admissions for mental health and substance use disorders among children increased by 24% from 2007 to 2010.
Ruth Perou, child development studies team leader at CDC, said the increase could stem from greater awareness of the disorders by health care providers and parents, increased poverty or environmental factors (Pugh, Washington Post, 5/19).
The report -- which analyzed data from 2005 to 2011 -- found that most common types of mental health disorders reported were:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, with 6.8% of adolescents under age 18 diagnosed;
- Behavioral and conduct disorders, with 3.5% diagnosed;
- Anxiety, with 3% diagnosed;
- Depression, with 2.1% diagnosed;
- Autism-related disorders, with 1.1% diagnosed; and
- Tourette syndrome, with 0.2% diagnosed (Chumley, Washington Times, 5/17).
Further, an estimated 40% of adolescents diagnosed with one mental health disorder have multiple disorders. In addition, about 5% of those ages 12 to 17 have a substance use disorder, 4.2% have an alcohol use disorder and 2.8% are dependent on cigarettes, according to Perou (Washington Post, 5/19).
The report also found that about 8.3% of adolescents ages 12 to 17 reported experiencing at least 14 days of feeling sad, angry, disconnected or stressed or have had thoughts of harming themselves or others within the previous month (Healy, "Science Now," Los Angeles Times, 5/17).
The report also found that suicide among children was more prevalent in boys than in girls. According to the report, 35.5% of children who commit suicide were diagnosed with a mental health disorder when they died, while more than one in four children who died by suicide were being treated for a mental disorder at the time of their death, and 21% had made a previous suicide attempt (Washington Post, 5/19). According to the report, suicide was the second-leading cause of death among U.S. children ages 12 to 17 in 2010 ("Science Now," Los Angeles Times, 5/17).
Provider Shortage Leads to Few Children Receiving Treatment
Just 21% of children with mental disorders receive treatment because of a shortage of pediatric sub-specialists and psychiatrists, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
The shortage has been caused by more children's mental health providers retiring from the workforce and fewer medical students taking their place, the Post reports (Washington Post, 5/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.