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Childhood Mental Disorder

  • More than seven million of America's children and adolescents suffer from diagnosable mental disorders.

  • A 1990 National Institute of Mental Health study shows that people under 20 are in the peak age range for developing depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, and substance abuse disorders.

  • Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among 15-19 year olds.

  • Warning signs of mental disorders in childhood and adolescence include drop in school performance; worry and anxiety; inability to cope with day-to-day problems and activities; changes in sleeping and eating habits; aggression; excessive fear of getting fat, etc.

  • Current statistics indicate that only 20 percent of children in need are receiving the services they need.

  • Left untreated, mental disorders can ruin young people's chances of obtaining decent education and jobs, living independently, and forming stable families of their own. The cost to society in terms of lost potential runs into the billions of dollars.

  • With early detection and appropriate treatment, chances are excellent that most children with mental disorders can lead productive lives as adults.

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