WHO (2000) stated that 20% of children and adolescents suffer from a disabling mental illness worldwide and suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents.
Research from the Indian Council of Medical Research reported that 12% children between 4 to 16 years suffered from psychiatric disorders in India. Similar studies from around the globe supported the fact that around 15% children suffer from significant mental health problems, affecting their social and physical functioning. Global studies show (Published in June 2011 of The Lancet) that one in every two adolescents globally suffers from neuro-psychiatric disorders. It further added that, one in five adolescents has an emotional, learning or development disorder while one in every eight has a serious mental disorder.
The issue of childhood psychiatric cases is more serious in middle and low income countries because these countries have a much larger proportion of child and adolescent population; much lower levels of health indices; poorer infrastructure and resources to deal with problems. Additionally, it is sometimes a cultural issue, with many people finding these difficult to understand and hiding them as a taboo.
Some Facts Pertaining To Mental Illness In Children
- Most common causes of disorders especially in adolescents could be depression, alcohol abuse, schizophrenia and bipolar disorders
- Other studies show close to 20 % Indian children suffer from some form of mental disorder, of which about 2-5 % are serious disorders including cases like autism, Schizophrenia etc.- which could also be at different levels.
- Irritability, sleeping and eating disorders and obsessive compulsive disorders that seem insignificant to most, if ignored, could also later manifest as more serious concerns.
- WHO has estimated that by 2020, mental depression will be the largest cause of disability worldwide. By 2025, mental illness will catch up with heart disease or may even overtake it as the biggest global health concern.