Up to 20 percent of children in the United States suffer from a mental disorder, and the number of kids diagnosed with one has been rising for more than a decade, according to a report released on Thursday by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the agency's first-ever study of mental disorders among children aged 3 to 17, researchers found childhood mental illnesses affect up to one in five kids and cost $247 billion per year in medical bills, special education and juvenile justice.
Children with mental disorders - defined as "serious deviations from expected cognitive, social, and emotional development" - often have trouble learning in school, making friends, and building relationships later in life, the report said.
They are more likely to have other chronic health problems, such as asthma and diabetes, and are at risk for developing mental illnesses as adults.
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