The state of children's mental health in the US: 15 numbers to know

Educators, legislators and global organizations alike are working to fight the surging youth mental health crisis in the U.S.

Nationally, 3,755,000 children experienced depression in the last year. Here are 14 more numbers to know regarding children's mental health in the U.S.:

  • More than 16 percent of youths ages 12 to 17 reported experiencing a major depressive episode between 2019 and 2020. The rate of suicide attempts in children increased by 55 percent in the same time period.


  • CDC research found that 45 percent of high school students said they were consistently sad and hopeless, leading to a loss of desire to participate in normal activities. An agency survey also found that 1 in 5 considered suicide, and 9 percent of teens had considered suicide within the past year.


  • More than 78 percent of educators reported having been approached by a child for assistance with mental health issues.


  • A CDC report found that hospital visits for suspected suicide attempts among girls ages 12 to 17 jumped 51 percent between February and March 2021. For boys, that number increased by 4 percent. 


  • The average employer cost of a pediatric mental health appointment increased from $2 in 2019 to $407 in 2022 — an increase of 20,250 percent.


  • Healthcare for children with a diagnosed mental illness costs 69 percent more than that of those with no mental health diagnosis. 


  • Diagnoses of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder in children and teenagers increased 12 percent from 2020 to 2021.


  • The prescribing rate of antidepressants or other psychiatric medications among elementary school-age children increased from 29 percent in 2019 to 42 percent in 2021. The corresponding rate among teenagers ages 16 to 19 increased from 63 percent to 66 percent in the same time period.


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