Child and Adolescent Mental Health
The majority of mental illness onset may occur in early childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood. Adolescent youth are also vulnerable for co-occurring substance use and abuse. Additionally, challenges that do not meet diagnostic criteria, including adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and life-related mental problems and distress, may appear in in school-age youth and compound mental health issues and concerns.
Fact: 20% of youth ages 13-18 have, or will have, a serious mental illness.
Reality: Mental illness is common during adolescence.
Fact: 50% of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24.
Reality: Adolescence and young adulthood are critical periods for identification and intervention of mental illness.
Fact: The average delay between symptom onset and mental health interventions is 8-10 years.
Reality: Early identification and treatment engagement is vital for improved quality of life.
Fact: Nearly 50% of students age 14 and older with a mental illness drop out of high school.
Reality: Students with mental illness need improved supports to succeed in school, career, college, and life.
Fact: Washington youth with co-occurring needs (both mental health and substance abuse) were the least likely to graduate on time (12%) and most likely to drop out (80%).
Reality: Youth with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse needs are less likely to graduate from and more likely to drop out of high school than youth without co-occurring needs.
Fact: In Washington, over 50% of youth in grades 10 and 12 reported not being able to stop or control worrying in the past 2 weeks. Over 60% of youth in grades 10 and 12 reported feeling nervous or anxious.
Reality: Youth are affected by mental distress caused by environmental stressors (examples: family crisis, end of a significant relationship, or death of a loved one). This impacts their daily experience in school and at home.
Fact: In Washington, over 30% of youth in grades 10 and 12 reported depressive feelings, including feeling sad or hopeless for at least two weeks in the last year. Over 25% of 8th graders reported depressive feelings.
Reality: Research consistently shows a strong link between suicide and depression. A diagnosis of depression elevates a person’s risk for suicide.
Fact: In Washington, one in five 10th graders seriously considered suicide in the past year. Between 14%-16% of youth in grades 8, 10, and 12 reported they made a plan for how they would attempt suicide.
Reality: There are many risk factors for suicide, including having a mental disorder, substance-abuse disorder, or co-occurring disorder.
Information adopted from: