Mental Disorder in Children: What Should Be Done

mental health month

One out of five American children now suffers from certain mental disorder, according to a comprehensive report from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. While some sufferers have congenital predisposition, others suffer from behavioral disorders due to substance dependence.

Mental disorders can have a serious impact on these children’s day to day life. In 2010 alone, suicide was a common cause of death among young people aged 12 to 17. Mental disorder spares no one. According to a comprehensive study, it is not easy to meet the need of these young people. Approximately, 250 billion dollars are spent on juvenile justice, healthcare, education, and other services. However, despite the effort, the numbers are increasing in an alarming pace, in any given year.

Prevalence and Causes of Mental Disorders in Children

The CDC recently conducted a research and studies to find out the prevalence of mental disorder among children. The data collected came from interviews with children along with their parents or guardians, about their habits, behaviors, diagnoses, and medical records. Here is the current disorders in order of prevalence.

• ADHD is 6.8 percent
• Behavioral conduct problem is 3.5 percent
• Anxiety is 3.0 percent
• Depression is 2.1 percent
• ASD, 1.1 percent.
• Tourette syndrome is 0.2 percent
• Illicit drug use disorder is 4.7 percent
• Alcohol abuse disorder, 4.2 percent
• Cigarette dependence in the last month is 2.8 percent
• Suicide rate is 4.5 percent for ages 10 to 19, per 100,000 in 2010

A significant conclusion illustrated that boys are more likely than girls to become dependent on cigarettes and to be diagnosed with behavioral conduct problems ADHD, Tourette syndrome, and ASD. CDC also reported that boys between  12 and 17 are more inclined to commit suicide than girls, while girls are inclined more than boys to battle with alcoholism-related disorders and depression.

According to Oak Hill child and Adolescent Center, the cause of mental disorder in children is unknown. However, research shows that a combination of risk factors might be in play, which includes psychological trauma, heredity, environmental stress factors, and increasing poverty.

The CDC also found out that the prevalence of mental disorder is due to lack of education. Less-educated households are liable to have family members with behavioral issues and increased depression and anxiety.

National Health month

Celebrating National Health month, people who provide mental-health services work hard to raise awareness about mental illness in America.  For decades, it has been a barrier to those who need treatment because of the stigma associated with receiving mental illness treatment.  

Mental health issues have received more recognition lately when violent acts and mass shooting made headlines. However, the continuing stigma of mental illness still persists, and many suffer in silence because of the misconception that people who are treated are crazy, psychopaths, or lunatics.

Philhaven and other organizations interested in mental-health issues are working together to raise awareness not just in May but all year round. Eliminating the stigma of experiencing a mental illness is an ongoing battle, but it’s a cause they are proud to fight for.  They work to educate communities and inspire those who share kind words rather than mocking ones. 

Should Be Done?

Based on the new surveillance data, CDC proposes to help allocate resources and initiate more preventative measures. The research involves numerous approaches to identify the different types of disorders, comorbidity, and data comparison between statistics. The Children’s Mental Health Surveillance Fact Sheet stresses the importance of the data collection to understand the impact of mental disorders, promote children’s mental health, and find new ways for treatment and intervention strategies.

In this stride, the CDC, along with National Institute of Mental Health, SAMHSA, HRSA, and HRSA agree upon the steps of recognizing the impact of childhood mental health disorders and developing a public health approach to address children’s mental health.

Written by: Janet Grace Ortigas

4 Responses to "Mental Disorder in Children: What Should Be Done"

  1. phyllis   May 17, 2013 at 9:30 am

    I know in my years of teaching high school and then as a guidance counselor I had the opportunity to work with all of the above listed problems. Having someone they could relate to was great, but some needed medication and counseling. It works, All my tourettes students became almost if not entirely symptom free with medication and were happy with the significant improvement.


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