Friday, May 17, 2013
CDC issues first comprehensive report on children’s mental health in the United States
Children’s mental disorders affect boys and girls of all ages, ethnic/racial backgrounds, and regions of the United States. Previous studies estimate up to 1 in 5 children have mental disorder and a new CDC MMWR Supplement finds that millions of American children live with depression, anxiety, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, Tourette syndrome or a host of other mental health issues. The MMWR Supplement titled, “Mental Health Surveillance Among Children in the United States, 2005-2011,” is the first-ever report to describe federal efforts on monitoring mental disorders, and presents estimates of the number of children aged 3-17 years with specific mental disorders, compiling information from different data sources covering the period of 2005-2011.
- Millions of American children live with depression, anxiety, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, Tourette syndrome or a host of other mental health issues.
- ADHD was the most prevalent current diagnosis among children aged 3–17 years.
- Boys were more likely than girls to have ADHD, behavioral or conduct problems, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety, Tourette syndrome, and cigarette dependence whereas adolescent girls were more likely than adolescent boys to have depression or an alcohol use disorder.
Mental disorders among children are described as "serious deviations from expected cognitive, social, and emotional development" (US Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Mental health: A report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, and National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health; 1999). These disorders are an important public health issue in the United States because of their prevalence, early onset, and impact on the child, family, and community, with an estimated total annual cost of $247 billion. A total of 13%–20% of children living in the United States experience a mental disorder in a given year, and surveillance during 1994–2011 has shown the prevalence of these conditions to be increasing. Suicide, which can result from the interaction of mental disorders and other factors, was the second leading cause of death among children aged 12–17 years in 2010. Surveillance efforts are critical for documenting the impact of mental disorders and for informing policy, prevention, and resource allocation.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (6.8%) was the most prevalent parent-reported current diagnosis among children aged 3–17 years, followed by behavioral or conduct problems (3.5%), anxiety (3.0%), depression (2.1%), autism spectrum disorders (1.1%), and Tourette syndrome (0.2% among children aged 6–17 years). An estimated 4.7% of adolescents aged 12–17 years reported an illicit drug use disorder in the past year, 4.2% had an alcohol abuse disorder in the past year, and 2.8% had cigarette dependence in the past month. The overall suicide rate for persons aged 10–19 years was 4.5 suicides per 100,000 persons in 2010. Approximately 8% of adolescents aged 12–17 years reported ≥14 mentally unhealthy days in the past month.