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-Four million live with mental illness severe enough to cause significant impairment in their day-to-day lives (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2010). This figure jumps to 21 percent in youth aged 13-18, and 13% of youth aged 8-15 (National Co morbidity Survey Replication—Adolescent Supplement, 2010).

-Half of all lifetime cases of mental illness e.g. anxiety and impulse control disorders such as ADHD, Oppositional Defiance, Conduct disorder develop during childhood and adolescence by age 14, and three quarters of all lifetime cases of mental illness develop by age 24.

-Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common of the pediatric neuropsychiatric disorders. According to the CDC, (2010) 8.4% (5.2 million) children 3-17 years of age were ever diagnosed with ADHD; 11.2 percent male and 5.5 percent female (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_250.pdf).

-Major Depressive Disorder during adolescence is estimated to range from 15 to 20 percent. A study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health found the rate of Bipolar symptoms among teens in the United States is nearly as high as the rate found among adults, underscoring the thought that the disorder first appears in youth (NIMH 2012). An estimated 70 percent of depressed teenagers do not receive treatment (http://www.uptodate.com, 2012).

-A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that 5-10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease. The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15-24 years old and 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.

-According to new data recently released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), teenage girls suffer from depression at a rate that is nearly three times that of boys their age. And depression rate triples between the ages of 12 and 15.

-Adolescent children of Veterans with PTSD may be similarly affected by their parent's symptoms (Dansby, V. S., & Marinelli, R. P. (1999). Adolescent children of Vietnam combat veteran fathers: A population at risk. Journal of Adolescence, 22, 329-340). The Caregivers Act was enacted in 2010 and mandated VA to document the effects on family members and assess caregiver needs and resources.

-In addition to hormonal changes the adolescent brain continues to develop into young adulthood. This is also a critical developmental time as behavioral patterns and personality patterns develop. Personality disorders are by definition not diagnosed until after the age of 18

-Prior to heath care reform only 20% of youth with mental illness receive treatment (Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, 1999). Despite the availability of effective treatment, there are average delays of 8 to 10 years between the onset of symptoms and intervention—critical developmental years in the life of a child (NIMH, 2005).

When children with untreated mental disorders become adults, they use more health care services and incur higher health care costs than other adults. Left untreated, childhood disorders are likely to persist and lead to a downward spiral of school failure, limited or non-existent employment opportunities, and poverty in adulthood (NAMI, 2006). 

     o Approximately 50% of students aged 14 and older with mental illness drop out of high school—the highest dropout rate of any disability group (U.S. Department of Education, 2006 ).

     o 90% of those who die by suicide have a mental illness (Surgeon General, 1999). Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth aged 15-24; more youth and young adults die from suicide than from all natural causes combined (CDC, 2007).

     o 70% of youth in state and local juvenile justice systems have mental illness, with at least 20% experiencing severe symptoms. At the same time, juvenile facilities fail to adequately address the mental health needs of youth in their custody (National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, 2006). o Early identification and intervention improve outcomes for children, before these conditions become far more serious, more costly and difficult to treat (NIMH, Mental Illness Exacts Heavy Toll: Beginning in Youth, 2005).

Nearly one-third (29%) of LGB youth had attempted suicide at least once in the prior year compared to 6% of heterosexual youth (CDC).

1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old.