SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

May 17, 2013

Report: Child mental health disorders rising

WASHINGTON — Up to one in five American youngsters — some 7 million to 12 million by one estimate — experience a mental health disorder each year, according to a new report billed as the first comprehensive look at the mental health status of American children.

And the rate is increasing, said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which produced the study, released yesterday.

Childhood mental disorders that alter the way children learn, behave and cope with their emotions affect 13 percent to 20 percent of youths under age 18, the CDC said. They also cost families and society at large an estimated $247 billion a year in treatment, special education, juvenile justice and decreased productivity, it stated.

While the prevalence, early onset and impact on society make childhood mental problems a major public health issue, only 21 percent of affected children actually get treatment because of a national shortage of pediatric subspecialists and child and adolescent psychiatrists, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

“Our current health care system does not meet the needs of these children,” Dr. Martin J. Drell, the group’s president, said last week in a statement about the problem.

Making matters worse, fewer medical students are specializing in children’s mental health careers, while the current crop of professionals are aging out of the workforce. The dearth of providers means troubled youngsters in underserved rural and urban areas are less likely to get timely care.

“Children with serious medical conditions should not have where they live determine what kind of health care services they receive,” said Dr. Thomas K. McInerny, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The new CDC report, “Mental Health Surveillance Among Children,” summarizes federal data and research from 2005 through 2011 to provide the agency’s first comprehensive snapshot of the nation’s emotionally troubled youth.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Fight brewing over Salem State garage

    SALEM -- Salem State's plans for a new parking garage are encountering resistance from people who live near the proposed site and say the structure will shrink nearby property values, create traffic problems and have other detrimental effects. Opposi

    August 21, 2014 3 Stories

  • bozo Last laugh BEVERLY -- When it comes to famous clients, it's tough to top Oprah. But to baby boomers of a certain age, Bozo the Clown might qualify as a pretty good second act. Kaminski Auctions, the Beverly company that sold off Oprah Winfrey items last year, i

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140813_SN_DLE_COPAA1 ‘Limbitless possibilities’: Amputees find solace with new support group

    Those in a new support group for amputees say overcoming the emotional trauma of losing a limb can be tougher to overcome than the physical battle of healing and learning to use a prosthetic. "When you lose a limb, you go through physical changes, bu

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Margo Danvers cyclist conquers Mount Washington in honor of biking friends killed by motorist

    DANVERS -- Margo Heigh of Danvers braved the cold, wind and steep grades to ride up Mt. Washington on her bike in Saturday's 42nd annual Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb. She did so to honor the memory of two cycling friends killed last y

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Extended day at Collins to offer variety of enrichment classes SALEM -- This school year, students at Collins Middle School will be able to end their day studying robotics, karate, journalism, music, flag football or any of the other 32 enrichment courses that have been added to the curriculum. A block of time e

    August 21, 2014