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Statistics  & Youth

What is happening with our children's mental health? Mental disorders among children are described as serious changes in the way children typically learn, behave, or handle their emotions, causing distress and problems getting through the day. Among the more common mental disorders that can be diagnosed in childhood are attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, and behavior disorders.


1 in 6 U.S. children aged 2–8 years (17.4%) had a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder.

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Positive Mental Health

  • Indicators of positive mental health are present in most children. Parents reported in 2016-2019 that their child mostly or always showed:

    • Affection (97.0%), resilience (87.9%), positivity (98.7%) and curiosity (93.9%) among children ages 3-5 years2

    • Curiosity (93.0%), persistence (84.2%), and self-control (73.8%) among children ages 6-11 years2

    • Curiosity (86.5 %), persistence (84.7%), and self-control (79.8%) among children ages 12-17 years2


Facts About mental disorders in U.S. Children

  • Having another disorder is most common in children with depression: about 3 in 4 children aged 3-17 years with depression also have anxiety (73.8%) and almost 1 in 2 have behavior problems (47.2%).

    • For children aged 3-17 years with anxiety, more than 1 in 3 also have behavior problems (37.9%) and about 1 in 3 also have depression (32.3%).

    • For children aged 3-17 years with behavior problems, more than 1 in 3 also have anxiety (36.6%) and about 1 in 5 also have depression (20.3%).

  • Depression and anxiety have increased over time

    • “Ever having been diagnosed with either anxiety or depression” among children aged 6–17 years increased from 5.4% in 2003 to 8% in 2007 and to 8.4% in 2011–2012.

    • “Ever having been diagnosed with anxiety” increased from 5.5% in 2007 to 6.4% in 2011–2012.

    • “Ever having been diagnosed with depression” did not change between 2007 (4.7%) and 2011-2012 (4.9%).

Ways To Support A Child's Mental Health

Love your child unconditionally.

  1. Encourage your children to talk about their feelings and validate their feelings.

  2. Listen first, then talk.

  3. Allow plenty of time for play and fun activities.

  4. Discipline with respect and teaching, not shame.

  5. Ask your child about their day.

  6. Take time to teach your child a new skill.

  7. Teach your child the 8 pillars of skill building.

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SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357),
(also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and
community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.

More statistics can be found on the website -Center for Disease Control and Prevention

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