A new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) documents the high prevalence of mental health disorders among America’s children even before the pandemic.1 Pandemic era reports recently led the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), and the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) to issue a joint declaration of a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health.2 This new MMWR represents remarkable work compiling diverse information from nine nationally-representative data sets. Findings indicate high rates of mental health disorders among US children and youth, including evidence that even very young children experience mental health conditions. Twenty percent of all children have an identified mental health condition annually while forty percent of all children will meet criteria by age 18. MMWR findings show that children living in poverty and minoritized children fare worse than their peers in access to care, identifiable risk factors, and prevalence of certain mental health conditions. Despite high rates of mental health conditions, the MMWR documents low rates of treatment (about 11.4% annually for White, 9.8% for Black, and 8.7% for LatinX children).
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