One In Five Children Has Mental Health Illness, CDC Reports

One in five children has a mental health disorder, according to a new report put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC rounded up rates of several mental health disorders, like ADHD and substance use disorders for children aged between three and 17. The report is the first on the state of mental health among US children.

The CDC adds that the estimates appear to be increasing, along with the amount of health care costs associated with the conditions. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, explained in a news release:

“Millions of children in the US have mental disorders that affect their overall health and present challenges for their loved ones. In addition, the financial costs of childhood mental disorders are at least an estimated $247 billion each year.”

The CDC reports showed that ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed mental illness in children, with almost seven percent of kids fitting into the category. Another 3.5 percent have behavioral issues, while three percent experience frequent anxiety. About 1.1 percent have autism.

The department also noted that addiction to drugs, alcohol, and tobacco are the most common issues for teens. While the percentages seem small, they translate into millions of children. For example, 6.8 percent of children have ADHD. That equates to about 4.18 million children. Dr. Frieden added of the statistics:

“We are working to both increase our understanding of these disorders, and help scale up programs and strategies to promote children’s mental health so that our children grow to lead productive, healthy lives.”

And it appears the numbers are only getting higher. The CDC reported in March that one in 50 US school children have an autism spectrum disorder. That number is up from one in 88 from the federal government’s estimate last year. The CDC hopes to use the data to understand how mental health disorders are impacting children, as well as work on treatment and intervention strategies.

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