Approximately 9 million children in the United States have serious emotional problems at any given time. Yet only 1 in 5 of these children is receiving appropriate treatment. Misperceptions about mental illnesses can prevent children and their families from seeking help. Misinformation and myths surrounding serious emotional disturbances of children and youth create social exclusion and feed discrimination at school, after-school activities, child care, and more. Anyone working with a child needs additional information about serious emotional disturbances so they can provide accurate portrayals of what mental illnesses are, and what they are not, to reduce discrimination and negative attitudes that are oftentimes associated with serious emotional disturbances.
This section offers information for children, parents, teachers, and caregivers about mental health and serious emotional disturbances of children and adolescents, the discrimination and social exclusion they may face, and supports available to them. (Additional information for teachers is available under Education.)