How Common Are Mental Health Disorders, Treatment in Children?

Bottom Line: An estimated 7.7 million children in the United States (16.5 percent) have at least one mental health disorder and about half didn’t receive treatment from a mental health professional. National survey data were used to estimate how common mental health disorders were in children at the national and state levels, along with how common mental health care use was in children. An estimated 46.6 million children were included for analysis and prevalence estimates varied widely by state. For example, the prevalence of children with at least one mental health disorder ranged from 7.6 percent in Hawaii to 27.2 percent in Maine and the prevalence of children with a mental health disorder not treated or counseled by a mental health professional ranged from 29.5 percent in Washington, D.C., to 72.2 percent in North Carolina. Policy efforts to improve treatment across the states are needed.

Author: Daniel G. Whitney, Ph.D., and Mark D. Peterson, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

(doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.5399)