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Chartbook on Mental Health and Disability

Section 3: Children and mental health disabilities

There are varying estimates of how many children have limitations due to mental disorders, depending on the way that the disorders are defined and measured. Almost ten percent of the children in the special education system are identified as having emotional disturbance, a term that covers many mental disorders, and the rate is highest for teenagers. These students have higher dropout rates than other students, and are less likely to successfully complete high school.

Topic Questions:

3.1. How many children and youth have mental or emotional problems or behavioral functional limitations?

3.2. How many children in special education have emotional disturbance?

3.3. Do rates of emotional disturbance differ by age group?

3.4. Do boys and girls experience different rates of emotional disturbance?

3.5. Do dropout and graduation rates differ for youth with emotional disturbance compared to youth with other disabilities?

3.6. What is the risk of suicide among youth?