Psychiatric Ilnesses Left Untreated in Most Children

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While more than 17 million children under the age of 18 have or had a diagnosable mental illness, the vast majority do not receive treatment, according to a new report issued by the Child Mind Institute (CMI).

One of the key findings of the first annual Children's Mental Health Report is that less than 35% of these children ever get the help they need. Other highlights of the report are that 80% of children with an anxiety disorder are not receiving treatment, and neither are 60% of kids with depression. Also, 40% of children who meet the diagnosis for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder are not getting treatment either.

The report also found that more than 70% of those in the juvenile justice system have some kind of psychiatric disorder.

CMI President Harold Koplewicz, MD, told Medscape Medical News that the findings represent a “public health crisis.”

“There aren't enough providers, enough access, and the suicide rate among young people 14 to 24 stays remarkably high,” he added. “We’re going to lose close to 5,000 young people to suicide. More children will die from suicide than from asthma, cardiac disease, AIDS, diabetes, and peanut allergy combined. Every physician and, in particular, pediatricians should care about this.”

Growing Disparity in Mental Health of Rich and Poor Kids
Psychiatric Ilnesses Left Untreated in Most Children

More than 17 million children in the United States have or have had a diagnosable mental illness, yet most are not treated, according to the first annual Children's Mental Health Report released by the Child Mind Institute (CMI) in New York City.

The fact that so many children are struggling with these debilitating and serious disorders without competent psychiatric care represents a very serious public health problem, Child Mind Institute President Harold Koplewicz, MD, told Medscape Medical News.

Among the report's highlights: 80% of children with anxiety disorder are not getting treatment and 60% of kids with diagnosable depression are not getting treatment.

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