Bradley Hospital
Leaders in mental health care for children for 90 years

The Truth About Mental Illness and Kids


In 2000, the U.S. Bureau of Health Professions reported that the demand for the services of child and adolescent psychiatry is projected to increase by 100% between 1995 and 2020.  

Source: AACAP, Department of Health and Human Services  


Suicide is the third leading cause of death in youth ages 15 to 24. More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza and chronic lung disease combined.1 More than 90% of children and adolescents who commit suicide have a mental disorder.2  

Sources: National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: Goals and Objectives for Action. Rockville, MD: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 2001; and Shaffer, D., & Craft, L. “Methods of Adolescent Suicide Prevention.” Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 60 (Suppl. 2), 70-74, 1999.  

States spend nearly $1 billion annually on medical costs associated with completed suicides and suicide attempts by youth up to 20 years of age.  

Source: NGA Center for Best Practices, Youth Suicide Prevention:  Strengthening State Policies and School-Based Strategies  

Juvenile Justice System

Multiple studies indicate that 60 to 70% of youth detained in the juvenile justice system met the diagnostic criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder.  

In Rhode Island, 75 out of every 100,000 youth between the ages of 10 and 15 reside in juvenile detention or correctional facilities.  

Source: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2006; Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS COUNT Program, 2010  

Eating Disorders

About 3% of U.S. adolescents are affected by an eating disorder, but most do not receive treatment for their specific eating condition.  

Source: Swanson SA, Crow SJ, LeGrange D, Swendsen J, Merikangas KR. Prevalence and correlates of eating disorders in adolescents: results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement. Archives of General Psychiatry.  

High School Dropout Rate

Approximately 50% of students ages 14 and older who are living with a mental illness drop out of high school. This is the highest dropout rate of any disability group.  

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Twenty-third annual report to Congress on the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Washington, D.C., 2001.