Mental health disorders may onset early in life, meaning that parents and healthcare professionals need to be able to recognize the signs and intervene appropriately.
And as any epidemiologist will tell you, one of the first steps of understanding an illness or condition – and how to best treat it – is to determine how many people have it and what these individuals have in common. This data allows public health researchers to gauge whether or not a society is doing a good job at managing the issue.
To that end, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently compiled the first-ever report estimating the number of American children with specific mental disorders, using nationwide data collected between 2005 and 2011. Their research showed that 8.6 percent of American children aged 3 to 17 years were diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or behavioral issues during that time. Other CDC mental health monitoring initiatives have revealed rates of youth suicide (which are rising alarmingly), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Tourette syndrome, alcohol and drug use, and autism spectrum disorder.
– Aliyah Kovner
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