Children Mental Health Awareness Day- May 8th

Today is “Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.” Some of you may remember that I suffered from an eating disorder in my late teens. I have also suffered from depression a great portion of my life and it wasn’t until my early 30’s before I was diagnosed.

According to a report published by the Public Health Agency of Canada, “Twenty percent of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness during their lifetime.” One-in-five Ontario youth already struggle with mental health issues. (Children’s Mental Health Ontario) and about one in five American children has a mental disorder. Mental illness can be fatal.

An estimated 20 percent of children and adolescents have mental, behavioral, or developmental disorders—yet only one third of them receives treatment. (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services)

According to Statistics Canada: CCHS 2003, Teenagers between the ages of 15 to 24 are the least likely to use any resources for problems concerning their mental health.

Did you know that half of all lifelong mental disorders begin before age 14. Children suffer from all kinds of mental illness such as Anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, personality disorders, eating disorders etc

According to a report published by Statistics Canada, Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teenagers aged 15 to 19. The American Association of Suicidology reports that 1 million young people attempt suicide each year.

The U.S. Surgeon General, Report on Mental Health suggested that most children who suffer from depression also have another mental disorder. Almost one-third of six to twelve year old children diagnosed with major depression will develop bipolar disorders within a few years. (Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)

“Of the Ontario children and youth who were interviewed through the Brief Child & Family Phone Interview in 2004, the most prevalent mental health issues were: Oppositional defiant disorder, Self-harm, ADHD, Depression, Conduct disorder, Separation anxiety and Anxiety (general) (kidsmentalhealth.ca).”

“Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses.” Eating disorders are most prevalent in adolescent girls aged 15-19, yet there have been cases seen in children as young as 10. A Mellin, Scully and Irwin, Paper presented at American Dietetic Assoc. Annual Meeting, in October 1986 reported that at least 46% of 9-year-olds had restricted eating.

According to National Institute of Mental Health statistics, nearly one-quarter of U.S. adults will suffer from an anxiety disorder. But did you know that research indicates that anxiety disorders effect about 13% of children aged 9-17. Panic attacks can interfere with a child’s schoolwork, and relationships, but children with anxiety or panic disorder can lead normal lives if they receive treatment.

ADHD, one of the most common mental disorders in children and adolescents, affects as many as 2 million American children. (National Institute of Mental Health)

Today everyone should understand that mental illness does effect children. It is a disease that can be diagnosed and effectively treated.

Visit Children’s Mental Health Ontario to learn more about children’ mental illness.

Mental Health

This post was compiled with facts from:

Understanding Statistics on Eating Disorders

Statistics Canada. “Canada Yearbook 1999.”

U.S. Surgeon General, Report on Mental Health

A report on Mental Illness in Canada

Facts on Children’s Mental Health

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