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Idaho Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health
704 N 7th St.
Boise, ID 83702

Four million children and adolescents in this country suffer from a serious mental disorder that causes significant functional impairments at home, at school and with peers. Of children ages 9 to 17, 21 percent have a diagnosable mental or addictive disorder that causes at least minimal impairment.

Half of all lifetime cases of mental disorders begin by age 14. Despite effective treatments, there are long delays, sometimes decades, between the first onset of symptoms and when people seek and receive treatment. An untreated mental disorder can lead to a more severe, more difficult to treat illness and to the development of co-occurring mental illnesses.  Social stigma associated with mental illness pervades all communities and is another barrier for families in need of help with their children to overcome.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death in youth ages 15 to 24. More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza and chronic lung disease combined.Over 90 percent of children and adolescents who commit suicide have a mental disorder. States spend nearly $1 billion annually on medical costs associated with completed suicides and suicide attempts by youth up to 20 years of age. Idaho is currently ranked in the top five states for rate of suicide per capita.

In any given year, only 20 percent of children with mental disorders are identified and receive mental health services.  Research shows that early identification and intervention can minimize the long-term disability of mental disorders. Early and effective mental health treatment can prevent a significant proportion of delinquent and violent youth from future violence and crime. It also enables children and adolescents to succeed in school, to develop socially and to fully experience the developmental opportunities of childhood.

The Idaho Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health would like to start a Video Blog highlighting current trends in Children’s Mental Health.  These Blogs would highlight different aspects of Children’s Mental Health, including early identification and diagnosis, early intervention treatment, family support, education and advocacy groups, suicide prevention, pertinent laws and anti-stigma.

Through interviews with current Children’s Mental Health leaders and presentations by acknowledged authorities this blog would be a clearinghouse for families seeking assistance, support and knowledge when a loved one is diagnosed with a mental disability without fear of anticipated social consequences resulting from the stigma associated with mental illness.