Anxiety and depression are treatable, but 80 percent of kids with a diagnosable anxiety disorder and 60 percent of kids with diagnosable depression are not getting treatment, according to the 2015 Child Mind Institute Children’s Mental Health Report.
Anxiety is a normal part of childhood, and every child goes through phases. A phase is temporary and usually harmless. But children who suffer from an anxiety disorder experience fear, nervousness, and shyness, and they start to avoid places and activities.
- See statistics for anxiety disorders among children from the National Institute of Mental Health.
A child who sees a scary movie and then has trouble falling asleep or has a similar temporary fear can be reassured and comforted. But that is not enough to help a child with an anxiety disorder get past his or her fear and anxiety.
Anxiety disorders affect one in eight children. Research shows that untreated children with anxiety disorders are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse.
- Find out the two questions all parents of young kids should ask themselves for a high degree of predictability that their child will develop an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders often co-occur with depression as well as eating disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and others.
With treatment and support, your child can learn how to successfully manage the symptoms of an anxiety disorder and depression and live a normal childhood.
The following sections will help you get started:
- Childhood anxiety disorders
- Anxiety and depression
- Tips for parents and caregivers
- Anxiety disorders at school
- School refusal
- Resources Free brochures from the National Institute of Mental Health (in English and Spanish)
- Good Mental Health Away From Home Starts Before College
- Mood Disorders and Teenage Girls Why girls are more vulnerable than boys for anxiety and depression, what signs and symptoms you should look for, and why early intervention is critical.
- Treatment of Children with Mental Illness
- Tratamiento de Niños con Enfermedades Mentales
- The Teen Brain: Still Under Construction This brochure describes changes in the brain that occur during the teen years and the significance of this stage of development.
Child Mind Institute
Families for Depression Awareness
Georgetown Center for Children and Families
National Child Traumatic Stress Network
The Balanced Mind Foundation
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
Selective Mutism Group
Selective Mutism Foundation
Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program — for military families in New England
Talking to Children About Terrorism and War
Helping Children Cope During Deployment
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Children and Grief
National Eating Disorders Association