A large percentage of young people who suffer from severe mental disorders are not receiving adequate care, according to data from a survey of more than 10,000 teens (ages 13-18), funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Prior studies have shown that approximately 20 percent of teens are affected by a severe mental disorder.
The researchers tracked how often these teens reported having ever received services to treat their specific mental disorder, as well as what type of help they received and how often they received it.
Specifically, only about 36 percent suffering with a lifetime mental disorder received help; only half of these teens who were significantly impaired by their mental disorder received professional mental health care. Furthermore, 68 percent of the teens who were able to receive professional care visited a provider fewer than six times during their lifetime.
Professional help was highest for teens with ADHD (60 percent), and behavior disorders such as conduct disorder or oppositional defiant disorder (45 percent). For those with mood disorders such as bipolar disorder or depression, 38 percent received services, and 18 percent of teens with an anxiety disorder received help. Fifteen percent of teens with a substance use disorder received care, and 13 percent with an eating disorder received services.