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May is Mental Health Month: Fact-of-the-Day

by the Staff of the Child Study Center

Thirty-One Days of Children's Mental Health

In honor of Children's Mental Health Month the NYU Child Study Center presents 31 facts about child and adolescent mental health:

1. 15 million children and adolescents suffer from a diagnosable psychiatric or learning disorder. Serious emotional problems affect 1 in every 10 young people, but an estimated two-thirds are not getting the help they need.

2. Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common disorders in childhood and adolescence, with prevalence estimates ranging from 5 to 10%.

3. 3 to 5% of teenage girls have a diagnosable eating disorder.

4. 50% of kids are bullied at some time and l0% are victimized on a regular basis.

5. Adolescents with untreated ADHD drop out of high school 10 times more often than other teenagers.

6. The mortality rate of individuals with anorexia more than 12 times higher than the rate of all causes of death among females aged 15 to 24 in the general population.

7. 5 to 20% of all children have learning disabilities.

8. Research has shown that parent involvement is a protective factor against tobacco use, eating disorders, academic difficulties and other problems.

9. At the present time there are 7,000 child and adolescent psychiatrists in the U.S., but the need is estimated at over 30,000.

10. Autism is usually identified by the time the child is 3 years old.

11. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires public school systems to evaluate children at risk for a learning disability.

12. Approximately 50 to 60% of children born in the 1990s will live in a home where there has been a divorce.

13. Only 1 out of every 5 children with a psychiatric disorder receives treatment.

14. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that 28.3 of 12-year-olds (10.8 million people) are alcohol drinkers.

15. Between 20 and 50% of kids and teens with depression have a family history of depression.

16. Girls are under-diagnosed for ADHD because they are more prone to the "inattentive type" of ADHD, according to a study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

17. More children suffer from psychiatric illness than from leukemia, diabetes, and AIDS combined.

18. Fewer than 10% of the 80,000 public schools in the U.S. have comprehensive mental health services.

19. By the time they are 11 years old, children will have viewed 8,000 murders and 100,000 acts of television violence (National Television Violence Study).

20. About 5 to 10% of the school-aged population refuse school at some time.

21. Half of adults with psychiatric disorders report that their difficulties started before age 14.

22. It is estimated that between 118,700 and 186,600 youths who are involved in the juvenile justice system have at least 1 mental disorder (National Coalition for the Mentally Ill in the Criminal Justice System).

23. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15 to 19 year-olds, after accidents and homicide.

24. Roughly 25 million children under the age of 17 are obese or overweight, which is nearly one-third of the 74 million in that age group, according to Census Bureau data and a 2006 study in JAMA.

25. About 13% of children between the ages of 9 and l7 have an anxiety disorder.

26. Nearly 4% of boys and 6% of girls have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder caused by violence they have endured or witnessed.

27. In 2007 an estimated 8.5 million 12 to 20 year old girls reported alcohol consumption.

28. In an average week during the 2006 school year, about 8% of youth ages 16 to 19 were neither enrolled in school nor working.

29. Anxiety disorders, the most common mental health problem, are highly treatable.

30. More than 38% of children with learning disabilities drop out of high school, compared to 11% of the general population.

31. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the prevalence of autism among 8 year-olds to be about 1 in 110.