MENTAL ILLNESS; Healing Children's Minds

Article excerpt

These days, when children act up in school, it may be there are circumstances beyond their control.

Often, that circumstance is a mental disorder.

The National Center for Children in Poverty recently released a sobering report that details how widespread mental health problems are in children.

It found that one in five children from birth to 18 years old has a diagnosable mental disorder.

One in 10 youngsters struggle with mental health problems that are so severe it disrupts how they function at home, in the community and, not surprisingly, at school.

GREAT IMPACT

In the course of a school year, children with mental health issues may miss as many as 22 days, according to the report.

Their rates of suspension and expulsion are three times higher than those of their peers.

Up to 44 percent of them drop out of school, and more than 10 percent of dropouts did so because of a mental disorder.

The report also found that poverty, and the conditions that are related to it, fuel the problem.

Children born in families that receive public assistance, or who have unemployed parents or teenage mothers, have a higher risk of developing a mental health disorder, as do children who are in the foster care system.

On top of that, some 75 to 80 percent of children who need mental health services do not receive them. …

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