Mental Illnesses Treatment Support & Programs NAMI Advocacy Find Your Local NAMI NAMIWalks
 | Print this page | 


NAMI Emphasizes Urgency Of Surgeon General's Report On Children's Mental Health

Statement of Rex Cowdry, M.D.
Medical Director, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill

For Immediate Release, January 3, 2001
Contacts: Bob Carolla 703-516-7963

The U.S. Surgeon General's national action agenda on children's mental health released earlier today is an unprecedented document. It is only the second Surgeon General's report devoted to mental illness, and the first to focus specifically on the urgent, unmet needs of children and adolescents.

Dr. David Satcher has sounded an alarm. The United States faces a public health crisis in addressing mental illness among the youngest members of society, on whom our nation's future very much depends. One in ten children and adolescents suffer from illnesses severe enough to cause some level of impairment, yet in any given year, fewer than one in five of those in need receive necessary treatment. Too many children are suffering needlessly. The long-term consequences are costly, in both human and economic terms.

The Surgeon General correctly emphasizes the need for greater scientific research to identify early indictors of brain disorders, and to integrate mental health examinations into regular healthcare examinations. Standard screening, assessment, and treatment tools are needed, and appropriate treatment is essential. Some children today who take psychiatric medications may not actually need them, but most of those in need are not even being screened, let alone treated.

The report stands as a challenge to parents, teachers, doctors, schools, hospitals, child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Our society's gatekeepers must develop the ability to recognize children in need and assure that they receive skilled evaluation, thoughtful support and appropriate treatment.


 | Print this page | 


Support NAMI to help millions of Americans who face mental illness every day.

Donate today

Speak Out

Inspire others with your message of hope. Show others they are not alone.

Share your story

Get Involved

Become an advocate. Register on to keep up with NAMI news and events.

Join NAMI Today
  • Follow NAMI
  • Contact Us
    • NAMI
    • 3803 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 100
    • Arlington, Va 22203
    • Main: (703) 524-7600
    • Fax: (703) 524-9094
    • Member Services: (888) 999-6264
    • Helpline: (800) 950-6264