Positively Speaking Blog

May 8th is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

The Facts:

  • 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:

  1. Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than 2 weeks
    (e.g., crying regularly, feeling fatigued, feeling unmotivated).
  2. Seriously trying to harm or kill oneself or making plans to do so.
  3. Severe out-of-control, risk-taking behaviors that can cause harm to self or others.
  4. Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes with a racing heart, physical discomfort or fast breathing.
  5. Not eating, throwing up or using laxatives to lose weight; significant weight loss or weight gain.
  6. Severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships.
  7. Repeated use of drugs or alcohol.
  8. Drastic changes in behavior, personality or sleeping habits (e.g. waking up early and acting agitated).
  9. Extreme difficulty in concentrating or staying still that puts a person in physical danger or causes school failure.
  10. 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

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