News Headlines Article

Writing a National Prescription to Improve the Mental Health of America’s Youth
Huffington Post

October 5-11 is Mental Illness Awareness Week, a time to mark the importance of mental health to an individual’s overall wellbeing. In a national online survey released last month, 90 percent of American adults reported the belief that mental health and physical health were equally essential for their own overall health. This perspective must also be underscored for our nation’s youth given the high prevalence of mental disorders among children and adolescents in the United States.

Mental illness affects up to 1 in 5 American youth, and are among the most economically costly conditions to treat in this population. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the cost of mental disorders including health care, use of services such as special education and juvenile justice, and decreased productivity for those under age 24 in the U.S. is an estimate $247 billion annually. Furthermore, half of lifetime cases of mental disorders begin by age 14 and three quarters of cases by age 24. A mental disorder left untreated is likely to result in the development of other concurrent mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders as well as long-term consequences including poorer performance in school and involvement with the juvenile justice system.