A recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry reveals concerning statistics regarding the prevalence of mental health disorders in childhood. The study, conducted by Christian Kieling, M.D., Ph.D., from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil, highlights that the prevalence of mental health disorders exceeds 11 percent for children and youth aged five to 24 years.
To estimate the global prevalence and years lived with disability (YLDs) associated with mental disorders and substance use disorders (SUDs), the researchers used data from the 2019 Global Burden of Disease study. The study encompassed four age groups: ages 5–9, 10–14, 15–19, and 20–24 years.
Globally, the study found that out of 2,516 million individuals aged five to 24 years, 293 million had at least one mental disorder in 2019. Additionally, 31 million individuals were found to have a substance use disorder, with a mean prevalence of 11.63 and 1.22 percent for mental disorders and SUDs, respectively.
The prevalence of mental disorders varied across the different age groups. For those aged 5–9, the prevalence was 6.80 percent, while for those aged 10–14, 15–19, and 20–24 years, the prevalence increased to 12.40 percent, 13.96 percent, and 13.63 percent, respectively. The study also observed variations in the prevalence of individual disorders within each age group, as well as sex-specific patterns by age.
Furthermore, mental disorders accounted for 31.14 million years lived with disability (YLDs) out of a total of 153.59 million YLDs. Substance use disorders accounted for an additional 4.30 million YLDs, making up 20.27 percent and 2.80 percent of YLDs from all causes, respectively. Notably, this means that 24.85 percent of all YLDs attributable to mental disorders occurred before the age of 25 years.
The authors of the study emphasize the importance of prevention and intervention in the early stages of life. They posit that mental health disorders deserve special attention during the first decades of life, particularly in terms of preventing and addressing these issues. They also highlight that one-fifth of the disease-related nonfatal burden in the age range of five to 24 years is attributable to mental disorders.
These findings underscore the urgent need for increased awareness, support, and resources for addressing mental health disorders in childhood. Additionally, the study emphasizes the significance of early intervention and implementing strategies to mitigate the long-term impact of these disorders. By recognizing the prevalence and impact of mental health disorders, we can take steps towards improving the overall well-being of children and youth worldwide.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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