Social emotional development disorders : Social Development

Social emotional development disorders

Chart that shows prevalence of mental disorders for ages 13-18

Child psychologist reminds physicians, parents to ask about social, emotional functioning

Mental health issues affect about 20% of children in the U.S. in a given year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 13% of children ages 8-15 have had a diagnosable mental disorder in the previous year, and 1 in 5 children currently have - or at some point during their lives have had - a seriously debilitating mental disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.1 The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that nearly half of all life-time cases of mental disorders begin by age 14, but treatment delays are common.

These are some of the reasons that one day of the year is devoted to promoting children's mental health, said a pediatric psychologist who also is associate director of May 9, 2014, was National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, she said.

"Social/emotional development and health are often overlooked, yet this area of development is as critical to kids' long-term health as their motor, cognitive, and speech development, " said Cederna-Meko.

"Pediatricians should ask about social, emotional, and behavioral functioning along with other areas of development at well-visits, " she said. "Parents should also feel comfortable bringing up concerns when they have them - the earlier problems are identified, the better able we are to address them."

The CDC's 2013 first-ever comprehensive Children's Mental Health Report2 notes that mental health is an important public health issue:

"Mental disorders are chronic health conditions that can continue through the lifespan. Without early diagnosis and treatment, children with mental disorders can have problems at home, in school, and in forming friendships. This can also interfere with their healthy development, and these problems can continue into adulthood."

What you can do

The CDC website offers the following actions:

Parents: You know your child best. Talk to your child's health care professional if you have concerns about the way your child behaves at home, in school, or with friends.

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