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CDC issues first comprehensive report on children’s mental health in the United States

Report is an important step to better understand childhood mental disorders and help children reach their full potential in life

Children’s mental disorders affect boys and girls of all ages, ethnic/racial backgrounds, and regions of the United States.  Previous studies estimate up to 1 in 5 children have mental disorder and a new CDC MMWR Supplement finds that millions of American children live with depression, anxiety, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, Tourette syndrome or a host of other mental health issues. The MMWR Supplement titled, “Mental Health Surveillance Among Children in the United States, 2005-2011,” is the first-ever report to describe federal efforts on monitoring mental disorders, and presents estimates of the number of children aged 3-17 years with specific mental disorders, compiling information from different data sources covering the period of 2005-2011.

  • Millions of American children live with depression, anxiety, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, Tourette syndrome or a host of other mental health issues.
  • ADHD was the most prevalent current diagnosis among children aged 3–17 years.
  • Boys were more likely than girls to have ADHD, behavioral or conduct problems, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety, Tourette syndrome, and cigarette dependence whereas adolescent girls were more likely than adolescent boys to have depression or an alcohol use disorder.

This report is an important step to better understand children’s mental disorders, identify gaps in data, and develop public health strategies to protect and promote children’s mental health, so children can reach their full potential in life.  Learn what CDC is doing about mental health disorders among children and how you can help.

Graphics / Images

  • Child Mental Health Infographic

    Estimates of U.S. Chidren with Mental Disorders

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  • New CDC Report on Children's Mental Health

    New CDC Report on Children's Mental Health

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  • Group of teenagers

    Group of teenagers

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  • Young boy on climbing wall

    Young boy on climbing wall

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  • Young children – black and white

    Young children – black and white

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Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286
media@cdc.gov

Spokespersons

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH

Biography

Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH

Millions of children in the U.S. have mental disorders that affect their overall health and present challenges for their loved ones. In addition, the financial costs of childhood mental disorders are at least an estimated $247 billion each year. We are working to both increase our understanding of these disorders, and help scale up programs and strategies to promote children’s mental health so that our children grow to lead productive, healthy lives.

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH - Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Ruth Perou, PhD

Biography

Ruth Perou, PhD

Children of all ethnic backgrounds, races, genders and ages, in every area of the United States live with a mental disorder. We need surveys and data systems that provide the necessary mental health information to improve children’s health and wellbeing at home and in school. This will help children reach their full potential while reducing societal costs.

Ruth Perou, PhD - Child Development Studies Team Leader at the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities

 
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