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Medical News & Perspectives
July 20, 2005

Mental Illness Takes Heavy Toll on Youth

JAMA. 2005;294(3):293-295. doi:10.1001/jama.294.3.293

A new survey of mental illness in the United States indicates that mental illnesses tend to strike early in life and delays in treatment leave affected individuals vulnerable to debilitating symptoms during their most productive years.

Half of all individuals who have a mental illness during their lifetime report that the onset of disease occurred by age 14 years and three fourths by age 24 years, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) National Comorbidity Survey Replication. The nationally representative, face-to-face household survey of more than 9000 individuals aged 18 years or older, conducted between February 2001 and April 2003, is a follow-up to the 1990 National Comorbidity Study. Four articles detailing the latest findings were published in the June issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.