Mental Health and Children

Nearly 1 in 5 children have a diagnosable mental illness.

Here at the PTI, if there’s anything that we want the good people of Baton Rouge and Covington to know is that we’re here and we care.  We want to serve the people of our communities with the most up to date research and methods so that we can best care for those suffering from mental health issues, whether they are short or long term.  Something that we think everyone should take a few minutes to peruse is the first annual Children’s Mental Health Report, released by Child Mind Institute in New York City.

Statistics On Mental Health And Children

As an underserved population, children with mental illness typically don’t get treatment at all.  Less than 35% of the 17 million children who need help actually get professional treatment.

Other findings include:

  • 70% of adolescents in the juvenile justice system have a diagnosable mental illness

  • 80% of children with anxiety don’t get treated

  • 60% of youth with a form of diagnosable depression don’t get treated

Similar to other populations and mental illness, stigma and lack of education are among the leading reasons why children don’t have access to mental health treatment.  About half of the parents surveyed who had sought mental health treatment for their child waited at least a year before speaking to a professional about it.  Most parents who seek treatment for their children sited symptoms such as impulsiveness, hyperactivity, sadness, academic trouble, social troubles, and breaking rules.  While most parents who were surveyed indicated that mental health is just as important as their child’s physical health, less than a third of pediatricians (according to parents) asked regular questions about their child’s mental health.

There are also some pretty drastic results of not seeking treatment.  Children who experience anxiety have an increased risk of developing depression as a teenager.  Anyone who has depression as a teenager is at 50% higher risk of developing long-term depression as an adult.  Most alarmingly, suicide rates are especially high for adolescents (14-24), totaling nearly 5,000 per year.

If you’re concerned about your child’s mental health, have a talk with your pediatrician.  Don’t put it off just hoping that it will get better or that it’s just part of “normal growing pains” or “teenage angst.”  It’s often hard for adults to talk about feelings and emotions, and even harder for kids who don’t have the communication skills and support networks that most adults have acquired throughout the years.  If necessary, please give us a call.  We can do most treatment in-house, beginning with a mental health screening, medication management, and therapy.

Speak Up For Kids