It’s a well-known fact that most everyone should participate in 30 minutes of physical activity a day and eat healthfully in order to stay physically fit, but why does it seem like mental health doesn’t receive half the attention it deserves? Mental disorders are a normal part of life, and affect people all around us. I can almost guarantee you somebody you know has a mental disorder like Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, or Schizophrenia. Teenagers are no exception, either.
- Four million children and adolescents in this country suffer from a serious mental disorder that causes significant functional impairments at home, at school and with peers. Of children ages 9 to 17, 21 percent have a diagnosable mental or addictive disorder that causes at least minimal impairment.
- Half of all lifetime cases of mental disorders begin by age 14. Despite effective treatments, there are long delays, sometimes decades, between the first onset of symptoms and when people seek and receive treatment. An untreated mental disorder can lead to a more severe, more difficult to treat illness and to the development of co-occurring mental illnesses.
- In any given year, only 20 percent of children with mental disorders are identified and receive mental health services.
Some of the consequences of attempting to let serious mental health problems go untreated include things like decreased performance in school, higher rate of incarceration in adolescence and later on in life, and even suicide. The best way to deal with problems like these is to talk to somebody you trust to give you good advice; better yet - seek help from a medical professional.
1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville,
MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, 1999.
2 National Institute of Mental Health Release of landmark and collaborative study conducted by Harvard University, the University of Michigan and the NIMH Intramural Research Program (release dated June 6, 2005 and accessed at www.nimh.nih.gov).
3 U.S. Public Health Service, Report of the Surgeon General’s Conference on Children’s Mental Health: A National Action Agenda. Washington, DC: Department of Health and Human Services, 2000.