1 in 10 children live with a mentally ill or severely depressed adult
Nearly 10% of children in the U.S. lived with someone who was mentally ill or severely depressed, data released Thursday from the National Center for Health Statistics show.
The big picture: The datapoint from 2019 was part of a larger effort to understand the number of children with different racial and ethnic backgrounds who are exposed to violence, parental incarceration or have lived with someone with mental health, alcohol or drug problems.
- The study surveyed sociodemographic disparities in stressful life events as reported by a knowledgeable adult among children 5-17 years old.
Why it matters: Stressful life events in various forms of abuse, neglect and household instability can have lifelong impacts on a child's physical and mental health, the authors write.
- Separately, health experts and government officials fear many U.S. adults and youth are experiencing exacerbated mental health crises or substance abuse during the pandemic and are scrambling how to best address their needs.
By the numbers: The percentage of children reported to have lived with someone who was mentally ill or severely depressed or had lived with someone with an alcohol or drug problem was highest among white children.
- 12.5% of white children lived with someone who was mentally ill or severely depressed, higher than the average, compared with Black and Hispanic children each at about 7%.
- Nearly 7% of children were victims of or witnessed violence in their neighborhood. Black children were exposed more at almost 10%.
- Nearly 10% of children overall had lived with someone with an alcohol or drug problem, the survey showed, which tended to increase with age and those based in rural areas. Almost 12.5% of white children were exposed versus only 4% of Black children.