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One in 10 Children Has Mental Illness; State-by-State Figures; Are Candidates Addressing the Facts?

October 12, 2010

Arlington, Va.-- One in 10 children has a mental health condition that causes significant impairment and more than half of all lifetime cases begin by age 14, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reported today, but only one-third get the help they need.

As part of an Election 2010 series, NAMI released state by state estimates of the number of children and adolescents ages 10-17, reminding editors, reporters, bloggers and others to ask candidates for public office to address the facts about mental illness in their states and communities.

See State Data Below

  • One in 10 children has a serious mental health condition, but only one-third receive treatment.
  • Half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14 and three-quarters begin by age 24.
  • On average, eight to 10 years pass from when symptoms of mental illness begin to when they get treatment.
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth ages 15-24.

During the nation's recession, mental health services for children and adolescents have faced devastating state budget cuts. Congress has some responsibility to help strengthen state mental health care systems. Federal mental health block grants have been reduced or frozen over the past 10 years.

Estimate of children with serious mental health conditions by state

10 percent of children aged 10-17

ALABAMA 51000
ALASKA 8000
ARIZONA 73000
ARKANSAS 31000
CALIFORNIA 422000
COLORADO 52000
CONNECTICUT 39000
DELAWARE 9000
D.C. 5000
FLORIDA 181000
GEORGIA 111000
HAWAII 12000
IDAHO 18000
ILLINOIS 142000
INDIANA 71000
IOWA 32000
KANSAS 31000
KENTUCKY 45000
LOUISIANA 49000
MAINE 13000
MARYLAND 62000
MASSACHUSETTS 67000
MICHIGAN 112000
MINNESOTA 56000
MISSISSIPPI 34000
MISSOURI 65000
MONTANA 10000
NEBRASKA 20000
NEVADA 28000
NEW HAMPSHIRE 14000
NEW JERSEY 93000
NEW MEXICO 22000
NEW YORK 204000
NORTH CAROLINA 99000
NORTH DAKOTA 6000
OHIO 124000
OKLAHOMA 39000
OREGON 39000
PENNSYLVANIA 129000
RHODEISLAND 11000
SOUTH CAROLINA 48000
SOUTH DAKOTA 9000
TENNESSEE 66000
TEXAS 288000
UTAH 34000
VERMONT 6000
VIRGINIA 82000
WASHINGTON 71000
WEST VIRGINIA 18000
WISCONSIN 60000
WYOMING 5000

Source: US Public Health Service, Report of the Surgeon General's Conference on Children's Mental  Health: A National Action Agenda. Washington, DC: Department of Health and Human Services, 2000. And US Census Bureau, 2008 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table B01001.

Previous NAMI Election Alerts

About NAMI

NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMI has over 1100 state and local affiliates that engage in research, education, support and advocacy. NAMI is a non-partisan, non-profit organization and does not endorse political candidates.

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