CDC: Mental Illness In Children Costs $247 Billion Annually

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report (pdf) revealing that mental illness in America’s youngsters may cost as much as $247 billion a year and may affect up to one in five children. The report did not generate network television coverage. Instead, coverage appears primarily on wire sources and medical websites.
Bloomberg News (5/17, Lopatto) reports, “Mental illness in children costs $247 billion annually, a figure increasing along with the number of kids hospitalized for mood disorders, substance abuse and other psychiatric disorders,” according to a report released May 17 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a special supplement to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. “As many as one in five children ages three to 17 years old has a mentally illness.” In addition, “the rate of children hospitalized for mood disorders increased 80 percent from 1997 to 2010, the report said, citing a US study from that year.”
McClatchy (5/17, Pugh) reports, “The new CDC report, ‘Mental Health Surveillance Among Children,’ summarizes federal data and research from 2005 through 2011 to provide the agency’s first comprehensive snapshot of the nation’s emotionally troubled youth.” The CDC’s “report comes one week after National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day on May 9 and as President Barack Obama prepares to host a June 3 mental health summit at the White House in response to recent efforts to halt gun violence.” Thomas Frieden, MD, “director of the CDC, will address the report’s findings in a keynote speech at the 18th annual Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum in Atlanta on Friday.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (5/17, Williams) reports, “Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, also called AD/HD, was the most commonly parent-reported diagnosis of children ages three to 17 at 6.8 percent, followed by behavioral or conduct problems, anxiety and depression, according to the study.” Three years ago, “suicide was the second leading cause of death among children ages 12 to 17. Experts say these problems are on the rise likely because of several factors, including better awareness and diagnosis, increasing rates of poverty that put children at risk, environmental toxins and other factors.”
The NBC News (5/16, Fox) “Vitals” blog reports, “For teenagers, addiction to drugs, alcohol and tobacco are the most common issues,” the report found. In a statement, Frieden said, “This first report of its kind documents that millions of children are living with depression, substance use disorders, AD/HD and other mental health conditions.” He added, “We are working to both increase our understanding of these disorders and help scale up programs and strategies to prevent mental illness so that our children grow to lead productive, healthy lives.”
Modern Healthcare (5/17, Zigmond, Subscription Publication) reports, “The CDC worked with other federal agencies such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Institutes of Health and the Health Resources and Services Administration on the report.”
MedPage Today (5/17, Gever) reports, “Ironically, the report appeared on the eve of the American Psychiatric Association’s unveiling of a new classification system, DSM-5, slated for this Saturday at the group’s annual meeting.” MedPage Today notes, “Many of the diagnostic categories for childhood mental disorders will be substantially revised in [the] DSM-5, including autism spectrum and behavioral and conduct disorders.”
Also covering the story are Reuters (5/17, Abrahamian), the Kaiser Health News (5/17, Gold) “Capsules” blog, HealthDay (5/17, Goodman), and Medscape (5/17, Harrison).