- One in five children lives with a mental health condition.
- 50% of mental health conditions start by age 14 and 75% by age 24 including mood disorders (depression, Bipolar disorders), anxiety disorders and behavior disorders (ADHD or conduct disorder)
- The average delay between onset of symptoms and intervention is 8-10 years.
- Only about 50% of youth with mental health conditions receive treatment.
The consequences of untreated mental illness in children:
- Approximately 50% of students aged 14 and older with mental health conditions drop out of high school—the highest dropout rate of any disability group.
- 70% of youth in state and local juvenile justice systems live with a mental health condition, with at least 20% experiencing severe symptoms.
The Warning Signs:
- Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than 2 weeks
(e.g., crying regularly, feeling fatigued, feeling unmotivated).
- Seriously trying to harm or kill oneself or making plans to do so.
- Severe out-of-control, risk-taking behaviors that can cause harm to self or others.
- Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes with a racing heart, physical discomfort or fast breathing.
- Not eating, throwing up or using laxatives to lose weight; significant weight loss or weight gain.
- Severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships.
- Repeated use of drugs or alcohol.
- Drastic changes in behavior, personality or sleeping habits (e.g. waking up early and acting agitated).
- Extreme difficulty in concentrating or staying still that puts a person in physical danger or causes school failure.
- Intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities like hanging out with friends or going to classes
What you can do to help:
- Talk with your doctor or primary care provider.
- Consider an evaluation from a mental health professional.
- Connect with your local NAMI for information and support.
The good news:
Children living with mental health conditions succeed everyday. With the right services and supports, all children can thrive.
For more information:
Go to www.nami.org
All statistics and information courtesy of National Alliance on Mental Illness
NAMI. org, (2014) Raising Children’s Mental Health Awareness. April 2014