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COST OF MENTAL ILLNESS

ANCHOR LEAD: MENTAL ILLNESSES IN KIDS COST MORE THAN ANY OTHER CLASS OF HEALTHCARE EXPENSE, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Diagnosis and management of mental illnesses in kids are the number one cost expenditure related to their healthcare, the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports.  Mark Riddle, chair of child psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, says he’s not surprised by the data.

RIDDLE:  Illnesses like depression, chronic anxiety, ADHD, behavioral problems that can result from them, are quite common in youngsters.  The best estimates that we have are that 10% of children and adolescents have a psychiatric disorder that causes impairment.  75 million kids in this country, so that’s a lot of youngsters with mental disorders.  It’s not surprising that the cost of taking care of them would be quite high.                 :29

Riddle is concerned, however, that only a small percentage of the kids who experience mental disorders are identified and treated, and the risk for persistent problems as adults is high.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey..


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