What types of mental disorders are common in children and teens?

Gina M. Biegel

One in five children has a diagnosable mental illness. In this video, psychotherapist Gina Biegel discusses the types of mental health disorders that children and teens live with today.

Mental illness is a real issue facing many of today's youth. In the U.S. alone, approximately 5 million children have some type of serious mental illness. Unfortunately, only 20% of those affected youth are identified and receive the mental health services they need. The sad truth is that of one in five children with a mental health disorder, only a third get the attention they need. These mental health problems have a direct adverse impact on the child's life by interfering with his/her normal development, impairing learning and interfering with daily life activities.

Just how prevalent are childhood mental health disorders in the U.S.?

  • Approximately 5 percent of children and up to 8 percent of adolescents in the US suffer from depression.
  • Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health problems that occur in children and teens.
  • Attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in children and adolescents. Studies report that it affects about 4.1 percent of youth age 9 to 17.
  • Approximately 46% of adolescents age 13 to 18 have had some form of mental health problem and 21% of teens age 13-18 have a serious disorder.

According to the National Institutes of Health the top mental health disorders plaguing today's children ages 8-15 are:

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Mood Disorders
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Anxiety Disorder
  • Eating Disorder - i.e., such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.

The key to helping today's children affected with a mental disorder is early identification and treatment.


National Institute of Mental Health Disorders

National Institutes of Health

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.