Mental illness often goes unidentified in children and adolescents, in some cases being confused with typical “growing pains.” But real problems are prevalent in this age group—for the first time in more than 30 years, the top 5 disabilities in US children are mental health conditions (Slomski A. JAMA. 2012;308:223-225). And in most cases, those affected are not getting treatment.
Ongoing and proposed efforts focus on providing early treatment by helping school staff identify problems and coordinate with clinicians to intervene before students begin substance abuse, develop depression, or become violent.
Hampton T. Programs Aim to Help Schools Identify and Address Mental Illness in Children. JAMA. 2013;309(17):1761-1762. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.4159