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  • 16% of the global burden of disease and injury is due to mental health conditions among young people aged 10–19 years. 1
  • Half of all mental health conditions start by 14 years of age, but most go undetected and untreated. 2
  • In the U.S., one in five teens (ages 13-18) lives with a mental health condition. 3
  • Young Americans aged 18-25 have the highest prevalence of any mental illness (25.8%) compared to adults aged 26-49 (22.2%) and aged 50 and older (13.8%). 4
  • Despite the prevalence of these disorders, the behavioral health care needs of adolescents often go unmet—only 38.4% of young adults with any mental illness received mental health services, less than adults aged 26-49 years (43.3%) and aged 50 and older (44.2%). 5
  • The consequences of not addressing adolescent mental health conditions extend to adulthood, impairing both physical and mental well-being and limiting opportunities to lead fulfilling lives as adults.
  • Our existing behavioral health care system for adolescents and young adults is fragmented and lacks continuity of care among schools/communities/families, as well as coordination of services in the systems of education/foster care/substance abuse/juvenile justice/vocational development.

Rising rates of suicide, especially among black youth

  • Globally, depression is one of the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents, with suicide now the third leading cause of death in 15-19-year-olds. 6
  • In the U.S., suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 15 to 24. 7
  • Among Americans aged 10 to 24, the suicide rate increased 25% from 2017 to 2019. 8
  • Among all U.S. youth ages 10 to 24, suicidal thoughts and plans dropped between 1991 and 2017, but among black youth, suicidal attempts increased by 73%. 9
  • Pervasive structural inequities and social determinants of health, including racism, poverty, violence, education, housing, employment and nutrition, may be driving these numbers for youth of color.