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17 million kids have mental health disorders, many go untreated

May 04, 2015

Most kids who need mental-health care aren't receiving treatment. The Child Mind Institute has released the first Children's Mental Health Report, which synthesizes credible and available data on the prevalence of mental illness in children, and found that an estimated 17.1 million young people in the U.S. have or have had a diagnosable psychiatric disorder.  

However, 80 percent of kids with a diagnosable anxiety disorder do not get treatment, while 60 percent of kids with diagnosable depression, and 40 percent of kids with diagnosable ADHD do not get treatment.  

According to authors, failure to intervene early leaves kids and adolescents at a higher risk for academic failure, school drop out, alcohol and substance abuse, entering the juvenile justice system and even suicide. In fact, more than 70 percent of youth in juvenile justice settings meet criteria for a psychiatric diagnosis, and the cost of lost productivity and crime spending related to mental illness in Americans under 24 is $202 billion.

The Child Mind Institute's report highlights the effective treatments available, the importance of early intervention, and the costs of not recognizing and addressing childhood mental illness. It will be published on and shared by partners Web MD, Parents Magazine and The National Council for Behavioral Health.

The full report is available online. 

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