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May highlights mental health awareness as issues rise among children


One-in-six children ages 6-17 years old experience a mental disorder each year, mental health experts say.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, highlighting the importance of mental health in the United States.

Millions of people in the U.S are affected by mental illness each day, and data from the National Alliance of Mental Illness shows mental-health issues and suicides are on the rise in children in the U.S.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among children ages 10-14, according to NAMI.

As numbers are on the rise among children, experts say the availability of care is lacking.

"The numbers of providers who are able to provide those services are not increasing at the same rate," Dr. Arpit Arggarwal, a psychiatrist with MU Health Care, said.

Arggaral says he is seeing children coming in with several different health disorders.

"Aggressive behavior seems to be one of my top-three behaviors but if someone is working in the outpatient ward where the are not as urgent then i would say anxiety, depression and ADHD kind of symptoms," Argarral said.

The COVID-19 pandemic is partially to blame for the increase in mental health issues among children, experts say. Arggarwal says there are no studies to prove that social media is to blame.

In 2020, the start of the pandemic, NAMI reported one-in-five people said the pandemic had a significant impact negative impact on their mental health, including 18% of adolescents.

Three million adolescents had serious thoughts of suicide in 2020 along with a 31% increase in mental health-related emergency visits.

Mental illness isn't as easy to diagnose as many physical ailments. The National Alliance of Mental Illnesses says to pay attention to signs of substance abuse, severe out-of-control behavior, sudden overwhelming fear, significant weight loss or gain and irritability.

If you or someone you know needs help you can call the National Alliance of Mental Illnesses helpline at 800-950-6264 or you can call the suicide and crisis lifeline at 988.

Article Topic Follows: Health

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Erika McGuire


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