Maturing through adolescence in and of itself can be physiologically arduous, as the teenage years are filled with countless lessons, physical and emotional development, surging hormones, and a newfound need for autonomy. Additionally, research indicates adolescence also happens to be the time that dormant mental health ailments may begin to manifest. According to findings from the World Health Organization’s World Mental Health Survey Initiative half of all mental health conditions start by age 14 but most cases go undetected and untreated. Data presented from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that an estimated 49.5% of adolescents aged 13-18 in America had AMI (any mental illness). Of the nearly fifty percent of adolescents with AMI, approximately 22.2% had severe impairment. Mental illness is highly common among teenagers in the United States and is increasing at an alarming rate.
To better illustrate the mental health crisis among American teenagers, consider the following statistics:
- The Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology published findings from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health that estimated 6.1 million children between the ages of 2 to 17 had been diagnosed with attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that an estimated 3.2 million adolescents between the ages of 12 to 17 had at least one major depressive episode (which makes up 13% of the US population in that age group).
- According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) depression and bipolar disorder affect approximately 14% of young people between the ages of 13 to 17.
- Data reported in the 2017 National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A) estimates approximately 2.2% of young people between the ages of 13 to 18 had generalized anxiety disorder.
- The NIMH reports finding that nearly 9.1% of adolescents between the ages of 13 to 18 had social anxiety disorder (SAD), and an estimated 1.3% had severe impairment.
- The CDC reports 7.4% of children between the ages of 3 to 17 have a diagnosed behavior problem, which totals nearly 4.5 million young people.
- Recent data found the suicide rate among teens was 10.6 deaths for every 100,000 teens, making suicide the second leading cause of death among teens ages fifteen to nineteen.
In the fall of 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics along with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Children’s Hospital Association declared a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health. Mental health disorders can affect all areas of a young person’s life. In many cases the pervasive symptoms associated with a diagnosed mental health illness prohibit a teen from effectively functioning in his or her normal activities, leaving him or her unable to complete simple daily tasks. Untreated mental health illnesses can lead to the development of severe short and long-term consequences.
Being charged with the responsibility to safeguard your child’s mental wellbeing could feel incredibly overwhelming, especially when it becomes evident that they need professional support. Fortunately, there are many resources and a variety of treatment options (e.g., traditional, holistic, creative, etc.) available to a young person in need of mental health treatment. The path of recovery will not be the same for everyone, as the treatment process is entirely personal, and it will be directly informed by one’s personality, mental health, and emotional needs. Because every adolescent is different, each will require a customized treatment plan to ensure all nuanced recovery needs are met.
For Information and Support
Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.
Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.
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