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.

Psychotic Symptoms Linked to Adolescent Suicide Risk

From Psychiatric News Alert (8/12/13): According to a recent study, psychotic symptoms alone (as distinguished from diagnosed psychotic disorders) are a striking marker of suicide danger in adolescents, especially in those adolescents who demonstrate other types of psychiatric pathology.

“This is a very interesting study,” said child and adolescent psychiatrist Kayla Pope, M.D., of Boys Town National Research Hospital in Nebraska. “We need better markers for assessing suicide risk, and the finding in this study is an important step in that direction.”

The finding, from a team of European researchers in JAMA Psychiatry, came as a surprise to the lead researcher, Ian Kelleher, M.D., Ph.D.

“While we knew that people with psychotic disorders are at high risk of suicidal behavior, we did not know that there was such a strong relationship between psychotic experiences (which are much more common than psychotic disorders) and suicidal behavior in the population.”

More information about suicide risks can be found in Psychiatric News herehere, andhere. Information about suicide is also available in The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Suicide Assessment and Management, Second Edition.

A Conversation with Mariel Hemingway

Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 7 p.m., at the Arclight Theater in Los Angeles. Sponsored by Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission

Mariel Hemingway will be sharing clips from her documentary, Running from Crazy, shown at the Sundance Film Festival this year.

Mariel Hemingway, Oscar-nominated actress, best-selling author, and mental-health advocate with a family legacy of seven suicides, including her famous grandfather, Ernest Hemingway, will talk about the history of mental illness in her family and will be joined by mental health experts in the community to continue the discussion.

NAMI Communications Coordinator Brendan McLean interviewed Mariel about the film and her experience with mental illness:

“Running From Crazy was a powerful journey for me. I wanted to share my story as a way for others to realize no matter what and where you come from everyone has a story and some relationship to mental instability. I am a Hemingway and have struggled with depression and craziness in my family but I believe that we all share similar stories. I want others to feel supported and the stigma of mental illness to be obliterated. The more we have a dialogue about this issue the better for everyone. Also the positive take away is my belief, based on my experience, that our lifestyle informs our mental wellness is a strong message.”

See the full interview at the NAMI National Site.

A Conversation with Mariel Hemingway begins at 7 p.m. at the Arclight Theater on May 15. For more information about the event and for reservations to attend, go to Free Your Minds Projects. See also the very fine review of Running from Crazy at The Telegraph.