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Do your part: Helping kids with mental health disorders (commentary)

As a native Staten Islander and child and adolescent psychiatrist, I was deeply saddened by the rash of suicides and attempted suicides reported in the Advancethis August, including one teenager who died by suicide and one teenager who attempted suicide. Thinking about the profound hopelessness and suffering required to take this step is heartbreaking. And knowing that the number of teen suicides is increasing—it is actually the third leading cause of death for persons aged 15-24 according to the American Psychological Association—should be a wake up call for parents, educators, health care professionals and community groups.

As the Director of the Healthy Brain Network at the Child Mind Institute, I'm very familiar with the statistics on children's mental health. Our 2015 Children's Mental Health Report estimated that one in five children has a mental health disorder that can put them at risk for behavioral or academic issues, bullying or being bullied, substance abuse, and conflicts with the juvenile justice system. In fact, 50 percent of these disorders begin on average before age 14, including anxiety, ADHD, behavior disorders and mood disorders.


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