When we think of people who struggle with mental illness, many of us picture adults. However, a large portion of the population who struggle with mental and behavioral health aren’t even old enough to attend junior high yet.
According to studies, approximately one of every seven children in the United States between the ages of two and eight live with a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder (MBDD). Those from ages six to eight were more likely to have a MBDD, as were boys and non-Hispanic white children. Children from poor families were also more likely to have a MBDD.
Several factors contribute to the mental health of young people, including their family situations, the communities in which they live, and their access to quality healthcare.
Many of these children are being raised by parents who also struggle with mental illness and do not have the capability to hold a job in order to bring in income for the family. Since they do not have gainful employment or steady income, parents are often unable to provide quality health insurance for themselves and their children. Sometimes, the children do not have sufficient or stimulating child care because their parents work long hours for little pay, not enough to pay for a babysitter or daycare service. Additionally, the neighborhoods in which these children reside are typically not stable or supportive, nor do they provide basic amenities like “sidewalks or libraries.”
Many programs have been put into place in recent years to provide these families with access to mental health care for their children. If MBDDs are detected and treated early in a child’s life, they have a better chance at full recovery. If these disorders are left untreated, children are more likely to deal with those problems throughout their lifetime.
If you have or know a young child with a mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder, reach out to us. We want to support you and your loved ones in the battle against mental illness.