Youth Mental and Emotional Health

Approximately 6 – 9 million children and youth have serious emotional disturbances in the United States.  One of five children and adolescents aged 9 to 17 years experience symptoms of mental health problems that cause some level of impairment in a given year.  Unfortunately, fewer than 20% of those who need mental health service receive them.

Estimates of spending for behavioral health services for children and youth conservatively range from $11.7 billion to $14.07 billion.  Left untreated, mental health disorders in children and adolescents lead to higher rates of suicide, violence, school dropout, family dysfunction, juvenile incarcerations, alcohol and other drug use, and unintentional injuries.

Of Mississippi’s high school students, in a recent CDC survey, 29% reported feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for two or more weeks in a row so they stopped doing some usual activities during the past 12 months (national average 26.1%).  15.4% of Mississippi high school students seriously considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months of being surveyed (national average 13.8%).  11.4% of Mississippi’s high school students made a plan about how they would attempt suicide in the past 12 months, and 9.3% attempted suicide one or more times in the past 12 months (national average 10.9% and 6.3% respectively).

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