CDC Finds Up to 20% of U.S. Children Have Mental Health Disorders

As many as one in five individuals in the U.S. under the age of 18 experience a mental health disorder each year, and that rate is climbing, according to a CDC report. The CDC report, which is the first comprehensive examination of the mental health of children, found that such illnesses cost about $247 billion annually in decreased productivity, juvenile justice, special education and treatment.

The CDC cites a pair of studies that found mental health disorders among adolescents are on the rise. For instance, one recent study found that hospital stays among children for mood disorders increased from 10 to 17 admissions per 100,000 individuals between 1997 and 2010. Another recent study found admissions from mental-health-substance-use disorders among children increased by 24% from 2007 to 2010.

The report also found that suicide among children was more prevalent in boys than in girls. According to the CDC, 35.5% of children who commit suicide were diagnosed with a mental health disorder when they died, while more than one in four children who died by suicide were being treated for a mental disorder at the time of their death, and 21% had made a previous suicide attempt (Washington Post, 5/19/13). Suicide was the second-leading cause of death among U.S. Children ages 12 to 17 in 2010 (Science Now, Los Angeles Times, 5/17/13).

The problem seems exacerbated by the fact that just 21% of children with mental disorders receive treatment because of a shortage of pediatric sub-specialists and psychiatrists. According to the Washington Post, the shortage has been caused by more children’s mental health providers retiring from the workforce and fewer medical students taking their place.

Ending the Silence

From NAMI California

In early August, NAMI California will be holding four different Presenter Webinar Trainings for the Ending the Silence program–Apply Today!!

Ending the Silence is a transformational program offered to high school students. In the 50 minute presentation, students are taught about mental illness and then hear about another young person’s own journey with mental illness. The Program has been presented across the state and is growing. In order to keep up with the demand from schools, NAMI California needs more trained presenters!

NAMI California is looking for people who are comfortable with self-disclosure and knowledgeable about mental health. Presenters either have experience with a family member with a mental-health condition, or have experienced a mental-health condition themselves. If you are interested in learning more or getting an application, please contact Beth Larkins at (916) 567-0163 or NAMI California looks forward to hearing from you


Intra-Family Bullying Bad for Kids’ Mental Health

From Psychiatric News Alert
The Voice of the American Psychiatric Association
and the Psychiatric Community

Bullying by brothers or sisters against their siblings is as bad as that from outsiders and is associated with worse children’s and adolescents’ mental health. A national sample of 3599 youth and caregivers reported greater mental health distress in the prior year if they experienced psychological, property, or mild or severe physical assault by their siblings, wrote Corinna Jenkins Tucker, Ph.D., of the Department of Family Studies, University of New Hampshire in Durham.

Sibling physical aggression was nearly as harmful as that by non-family peers, and combined aggression from within and outside the family caused nearly double the level of distress.

“Sibling aggression is not benign for children and adolescents, regardless of how severe or frequent… An implication of our work is that parents, pediatricians, and the public should treat sibling aggression as potentially harmful and something not to be dismissed as normal, minor, or even beneficial. The mobilization to prevent and stop peer victimization and bullying should expand to encompass sibling aggression as well.”

Tucker et al., in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics.

For more in Psychiatric News about bullying, click here.

Adolescent Suicide Risk Increases with Exposure to Suicide According to Recent Study

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health reported in the May 21 Canadian Medical Association Journal that exposure to suicide can lead to suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in adolescents.

The finding was based on responses from 8,766 Canadian adolescents aged 12 to 17 who were part of the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, carried out from 1998 to 2007. Study participants were asked whether anyone in their school had died by suicide and whether they personally knew anyone who had died by suicide. Social support for the youths and stressful life events were also assessed in the study. The prevalence of exposure to a schoolmate’s suicide and personally knowing someone who died by suicide increased with age, and such exposure was consistently associated with suicide attempts and, to a lesser degree, with suicidal ideation.

“Our results support schoolwide interventions over current targeted interventions, particularly over strategies that target interventions toward children closest to the decedent,” the researchers concluded.

Experts say that patient involvement is key to any suicide-prevention strategy’s success. Read more on that topic in Psychiatric News here. And find more information about such strategies in The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Suicide Assessment and Management, Second Edition, available here.

(From  Psychiatric News Alert)
(Image: Piotr Marcinski/