teen mental health statistics

Teen Mental Health Statistics

July 26, 2023

Teen mental health is a significant concern in America today, and it’s more critical than ever that parents and caregivers understand its various facets. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the prevalence of mental illnesses among adolescents, the issues associated with teen mental health and how you can get your child help if necessary.

Prevalence of Mental Illnesses Among Adolescents

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, just over 20% of U.S. adolescents have had a mental disorder at some point.

Mental illnesses among teens can manifest in several ways and be severely disruptive. These statistics highlight that teen mental health is a pressing issue that requires our collective attention and effort.

  • Anxiety disorders: Affecting approximately 25% of teens aged 13 to 18, these can include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety and panic disorder.
  • Depression: The prevalence of major depression among American adolescents is about 13.3%.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder: OCD consists of intrusive thoughts, followed by taking specific actions to neutralize them. Many OCD compulsions stem from a belief that repetitive routines can prevent a negative consequence.
  • Eating disorders: Girls and boys can struggle with disordered eating patterns like anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. These issues go hand in hand with body dysmorphia.

Issues Associated With Teen Mental Health Disorders

Anxiety, depression and eating disorders can profoundly impact a teenager’s life. Here are a few of the potential issues associated with teen mental illness.

  1. Academic difficulties: Mental illness can lead to concentration problems, lack of motivation or excessive absences from school, causing a teen’s grades to decline.
  2. Social challenges: Adolescents with mental health problems can have a hard time making and keeping friends, which can lead to isolation and further mental health issues.
  3. Substance use: Teens with untreated mental health issues are more likely to engage in risky behaviors like drinking and taking drugs.
  4. Suicidal tendencies: Adolescents with severe mental illnesses are at a higher risk of suicidal ideation or attempts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 10 to 14.

Understanding and Addressing Adolescent Mental Health

As a parent, it’s crucial to recognize the signs of mental health struggles in your teenager. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Prolonged sadness or irritability
  • Sudden decline in academic performance
  • Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Unexplained physical ailments like headaches or stomachaches
  • Frequent bouts of anger or aggression
  • Social withdrawal or a sudden change in friendship groups

If you notice any of these signs, the first step is to have a non-judgmental conversation with your teen about their feelings and experiences. Encourage them to express their emotions without fear of criticism or consequence. Next, seek a diagnosis and guidance from your pediatrician or a mental health professional.

Proven Treatment for Adolescents and Their Families

The Forum specializes in addressing multiple conditions in teens. Our team of clinicians, led by neuropsychologist Dr. Joanna Savarese, understands how to address mental health disorders, even those that co-occur and overlap with each other. Integrated services are the cornerstone of our treatment model.

While these teen mental health statistics might be alarming, help is available, and recovery is possible. As a society, we need to dispel the stigma associated with mental illness and ensure our children have the support they need to navigate this crucial time in their life. Contact us today to make an appointment.