The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has released its first comprehensive report on the state of mental health in children aged 3 to 17. The report titled, Mental Health Surveillance Among Children – United States, 2005 – 20011, compiles research and statistics from a number of federal agencies such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Institute of Mental Health. This report is an important step in identifying the prevalence of mental health disorders in children and teenagers and is of great use to parents, educators, and health professionals.
The data shows that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common mental health diagnosis for children aged 3 to 17 followed by behavioral or conduct disorder, anxiety, depression, and autism spectrum disorders. The most common diagnosis for adolescents aged 12 to 17 is illicit drug use disorder, alcohol use disorder, and cigarette dependence. The report reveals that millions of children aged 3 to 17 are living with a variety of mental health conditions. The goal is to develop successful public health policy to better understand the prevalence, impact, need of treatment, and to raise public awareness about mental health of children. The report can be found on the Center for Disease Control’s website, however; an abridged version with key findings titled Children's Mental Health is also available.
As a parent or educator it is important to be familiar with symptoms of common mental health conditions such as ADHD, depression, anxiety, conduct disorder, and drug and alcohol abuse. If you suspect that your child or teenager may be struggling with a mental health condition conduct a health professional such as an adolescent counselor or primary physician. The CDC identifies early identification and appropriate treatment to best help children and teenagers get the help they need.
The CDC’s website contains valuable information on child development and parenting tips for children and teens of all ages including parenting tips for young teens aged 12 to 14 and parenting tips for teens aged 15 to 17.