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Five Most Frightening Facts about Children’s Mental Health

Posted on May 22, 2017 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

Mental Health Awareness Month & What You Need to Know

Tough to believe but true:

  1. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among children ages 10-14
  2. Nearly 1 out of every 5 highschool-age Hispanic students seriously considered attempting suicide -- and 11% attempted suicide
  3. More children have mental health disorders than have cancer, diabetes and HIV, combined
  4. Half of all psychiatric illness occurs before the age of 14
  5. Bully victims are two-to-nine times more likely to consider suicide - and nearly half of youth suicides is related to bullying

James McGuirk, CEO of Catholic Charities affiliate, Astor Services for Children & Families, shared these frightening facts and more in a recent interview with the Poughkeepsie Journal in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month.

 “While the statistics on children’s mental health are alarming, they can be changed,” he says, drawing on his Astor Services experience. “Treatment works. Unfortunately, however, most children who need treatment don’t receive it.

Why Children Don’t Get Treatment

Many parents feel shame and are often blamed for their children’s behavior (think stigma). Other factors are a shortage of qualified children’s mental health providers and the belief that children will out-grow their problems. Furthermore, vulnerable children are reluctant to talk about how they feel different (stigma, again), further reducing their probability of seeking treatment.

Astor Services for Children & Families is a community based, non-profit organization that provides children’s mental health services, child welfare services, and early childhood development programs.

What You Can Do

“We need to talk about mental health problems openly and honestly. We need to recognize that people struggling with mental health issues can achieve greatness.

“Consider Abraham Lincoln, who reportedly contended with melancholy and depression. Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, suffered from schizophrenia. Buzz Aldrin, Mike Wallace and Pablo Picasso coped with depression. Beethoven, Winston Churchill, Vincent van Gogh and Sir Isaac Newton were known to exhibit behaviors of bipolar disorder. Some suggest that Charles Darwin endured agoraphobia, a debilitating anxiety disorder…

Listen to Your Children

“Listen to your children. They will tell you when they are bothered by something, although not necessarily with words. Watch their behavior, which will provide plenty of clues. They need the adults in their life to figure out the puzzle of their behavior and be willing to accept whatever they’re communicating. Let’s all pay attention.”

Get Help Now

Facts about children’s mental health don’t have to be frightening.  Find out more about Catholic Charities services for children & adults with mental illness