Children & Adolescents

Mental Health Facts: Children & Adolescents

Our weekly blog series during May is Mental Health Month continues. This week we highlight some facts, figures and resources focusing on the mental and behavioral health of children and adolescents.

According to statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health:

  • 20% of youth ages 13-18 live with a mental health condition.
  • 11% have a mood disorder
  • 10% have a conduct disorder
  • 8% have an anxiety disorder

Yet, even though it’s proven that early detection and treatment is the best predictor for successful recovery from youth mental health issues, there is an 8-10 year delay between the onset of symptoms and intervention in most cases.  For too many, there is no intervention or treatment at all. (NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has a good info-graphic you can see here.)

Sometimes it’s easy to recognize behaviors and symptoms of mental health issues.  Sometimes it’s not. Especially in adolescents, warning signs often seem like ‘typical’ changes in behavior for teenagers. The National Council, a leader in behavioral health policy, education and advocacy, offers this as a quick guide to assessing some of these differences: Average Teen or Warning Sign?

Thanks to an ever more fearless, robust and thoughtful discussion about mental health and addiction that is gathering strength nationally and in our own communities, issues important to youth mental health and recovery are getting more attention.  The good news is, there is more evidence-based, trusted information about issues and treatment available than ever before.  One resource that came to our attention recently is, A Guide for Youth: Understanding Trauma.  Written from the youth, peer – peer perspective, the conversation in this piece highlights a very important issue for both youth and adults — the impact of trauma on mental health.

Bottom line — mental health is important to everyone, but it doesn’t look or feel the same for everyone.  The best time to get help is when symptoms first manifest…but that doesn’t happen often enough.  There is a shortage of psychiatrists with expertise in children/youth mental health even more serious than the general dearth of qualified professionals serving people who need behavioral health treatment.

Back in 1960 when CPC Behavioral Healthcare welcomed the first person seeking treatment, that person was a child — brought in by a family who was grateful that Monmouth County finally had an organization that served children.  CPC FACT:  At the Agency’s inception, CPC stood for Children’s Psychiatric Center. It was the first — and for quite a while the only — place in Monmouth County where parents and caregivers could seek help for children experiencing mental health issues. Now CPC serves adults as well as children, and continues to carry the ‘CPC’ in its name as tribute to its grassroots beginning more than 55 years ago.

Today, CPC serves more than 2,000 children each year in its behavioral health programs and special education schools.  Some of CPC’s programs for youth are:

  • The Circle of Friends, After School program
  • The Y.E.S. Program
  • Fit to Return Program
  • Children’s Mobile Response and Stabilization Services program
  • The Intensive Outpatient Program for Girls (Part of the Agency’s Addiction Recovery Services program)
  • Outpatient Program for Boys (Part of the Agency’s Addiction Recovery Services program)
  • High Point Schools

For more information about these and other programs serving children and adolescents, please consult our website:  Programs – Children & Adolescents.


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