Adolescent mental health statistics - featured image

42 Frightening Adolescent Mental Health Statistics

By Blog

Adolescence is a particularly sensitive period in every person’s life. This transition from childhood to adulthood is a turning point in every teenager’s life, and it is often accompanied by numerous challenges. Difficult times come and go, but adolescents sometimes develop serious problems like mental disorders. 

Changes happen overnight. Some are easier to deal with, while others leave consequences that last a lifetime. It’s paramount that you notice these changes in adolescents early, or the ramifications can be catastrophic. 

According to the adolescent mental health statistics, one in five teens develops some type of mental health disorder. Staggering, isn’t it? However, with a proper approach to this particularly sensitive matter, every teen can overcome these hurdles and get back on the right track, turning into a successful young man who can cope with his or her problems.

To solve the root of these problems, everyone needs to show understanding, from parents and educational institutions to psychologists who specifically address this issue. 

But we are all different, and each one of us has faced adolescent problems differently. Today, we’ll talk about the most common mental health issues in adolescence. At times, we will discuss mental illnesses in general terms, and at other times, discuss specific mental illnesses. 

Top Stats Regarding Mental Disorders in Adolescence (Editor’s Pick)

  • Approximately 13% of children suffer from anxiety
  • Girls are twice as likely to develop an anxiety disorder than boys 
  • Social networks users are 2.7 times as likely to develop mental health disorders 
  • Depression is linked with substance abuse 
  • In 2018, over 400,000 teens in the US suffered from alcoholism.

Teen and Adolescent Mental Health

You’re probably wondering how a sweet little kid turns into a teenager with all sorts of problems overnight. The main reason for this is that adolescents don’t know how to cope with everyday issues. An in-depth look at teen mental health statistics can help us understand how and in what ways we can help teens deal with the challenges they face. 

Adolescents are prone to constant behavioral and mood changes. They are emotionally hypersensitive in general and often reluctant to talk about certain aspects of their lives. It is essential for adolescents to talk about how they feel continually and to have full support from his or her environment. Otherwise, several mental disorders in adolescence may occur. 

It is paramount to spot the problem early on so that adequate assistance can be provided. Early signs are visible, but understanding the root of the problem and how to approach it takes patience and caution. 


Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. While growing up, we all go through different phases. It’s very typical for all children to have specific fears at some point in their childhood. Sometimes fear is triggered by something startling, unexpected, or unknown. That fear often becomes so nerve-wracking and overwhelming that it turns into a disease. And when you develop fear-related illnesses, it can prevent you from functioning normally. 

1. One in eight children suffers from anxiety. 

Anxiety in children is common. Although it’s very complicated to pinpoint the exact cause of this disorder, several factors need to be considered. Since we’re talking about the most sensitive period in one’s development, the most likely causes are traumatic events. Anxiety manifests through fear, nervousness, avoidance of certain activities, and shyness. 

2. 4% of children suffer from separation anxiety disorder.

Data from childhood anxiety statistics indicate that 4% of children suffer from a separation anxiety disorder, which is typical for ages 7-9. These children refuse to be separated from their parents and are afraid of being left alone. Selective mutism can also occur in children when they refuse to speak in stressful situations like when making new acquaintances at school. 

3. One in three teenagers suffers from anxiety. 

If we pay attention to the anxiety in adolescent statistics, we can notice that a total of 31.9% of adolescents suffer from some anxiety disorder. Around 19.3% of teenagers have developed some specific phobia, 7.6% suffer from social anxiety, 5% of PTSD, 2.3% of panic disorder, and 2.2% of generalized anxiety disorder. 

Considering the constant struggles every adolescent goes through, anxiety should be treated with caution as it can lead to serious mental health problems, such as depression, substance abuse, and even suicide. 

4. Girls are twice as likely to develop anxiety disorders than boys. 

According to mental health awareness statistics, girls are more prone to suffer from anxiety than boys. The reason for this is because female hormones contribute to anxiety, while male hormones may help ease anxiety symptoms. During the teenage period, fluctuations in hormone levels occur that make girls of that age more sensitive to external factors. 

5. 52% of teens have a fear of speaking in public.

Anxiety in teens affects their academic performances, love life, and relationship with parents, as shown by speech anxiety statistics. This is merely one of the subtypes of social phobia. Specifically, glossophobia can cause anxiety in teens during public exposure in school. But as teens grow older and become more educated, they feel more confident in themselves and these problems disappear. Proper research and timely response to this disorder are crucial in helping teens overcome this type of anxiety. 

Adolescent mental health statistics - anxiety


Depression is one of the most common mental disorders. It can occur at any age but is particularly prevalent among adolescents, which is shown in depression in adolescence statistics.

6. About 20% of teens suffer from depression during their teenage years.

Approximately one in every five teens experiences depression before reaching adulthood. Between 10 and 15% suffer from symptoms at any time. Depression is a behavioral disorder in which a person always feels sad over a long period and loses interest in everyone around him or her. It can last for a very long time – from a few weeks to several years. 

Let’s see what the risk factors for depression in adolescence are and how to prevent depression in teens. 

7. 68% of women and 57% of men suffer from a mental health disorder. 

According to the parents with mental health statistics, this affects the teenagers growing up in such an environment. Depression is never a consequence of an isolated factor, but rather a combination of various factors. Growing up in an environment in which the parents have a mental disorder only aggravates the situation for teens. 

8. In the US, 3.2% of children aged 3-17 suffer from depression.

This number is quite frightening, and it occurs as a consequence of parents not being able to recognize depression in their child, which consequently remains untreated. As we can see from depression in adolescence facts, untreated childhood depression increases the risk of prolonged and more severe depressive episodes in adulthood.

9. Most kids hide their depression.

Children suffering from severe chronic illness have the highest predisposition of developing depression. Behavioral changes such as irritability, anger, sleep, and eating disorders are just some of the symptoms that may indicate depression, according to the childhood depression facts

10. Most kids aged 3-17 with a behavioral disorder are suffering from anxiety or depression.

Looking at childhood depression statistics, one out of three kids aged 3-17 with a behavioral disorder is suffering from anxiety (36.6%), and one out of five is suffering from depression (20.3%). Kids usually don’t know what they are dealing with, even when the physical symptoms occur. Recognizing these symptoms is vital as untreated depression can lead to suicidal behavior in the future or even suicide. 

What many children and their parents also typically do not know, is that the gut and the brain directly connect through the vagus nerve. These two are constantly signaling and communicating with each other. As a result, what we eat directly affects our mood and the way our brain functions. Many functionally trained registered dietitians will suggest an elimination diet to the family as a way to see if food is exacerbating the mental health condition.

11. Only 60% of kids in the US live in two-parent families. 

Parental divorce affects the mental health of children and adolescents. For young people growing up, living with both parents and having support from both is essential. However, sometimes it’s not possible to overcome the problems and differences, which is why so many parents decide to divorce. 

12. Parental divorce leads to an increased depression rate in adolescence.

While going through a divorce, there is a possibility that kids and even teens may change their behavior. Some of them can’t cope with their parents’ divorce, so they experience psychological problems. Family instability, along with several other negative factors, can lead to depression. 

13. 7.2% to 22% of adolescents were victims of physical abuse before their parents got divorced.

Adolescent mental health stats had revealed that some adolescents were physically abused before their parents got separated. These kids belong to the most sensitive group, and special care must be taken for them. 

14. 65.8% to 93.5% of adolescents were victims of mental abuse before their parents got divorced.

Some parents justify violence and mental abuse as part of a child’s education. This way, parents surely don’t help their child in resolving joint conflict, and the consequences of such an approach can be potentially devastating. Psychological abuse in adolescence can lead to anxiety and other serious mental illnesses.

15. 15% to 50% of divorced parents in the US prefer joint custody. 

According to the statistics on adolescent mental health and divorce, one-third of divorced parents in the US prefer joint custody over their kids. This is the right decision because both parents can jointly overcome their kid’s psychic trauma and possibly even mental illnesses. 

16. People using social networks are 2.7 times as likely to develop depression.

In recent years, with the development of social networks and the internet, there has been an increase in the number of children suffering from mental disorders like depression. However, scientists haven’t noticed a direct connection between social networks and depression. 

Some social media and depression facts show that the average person spends 4.7 hours on average on his or her smartphone, checking news feed on one of their social network accounts. 

17. Adolescents visit social networks at least once every hour.

Through social networks, teens often lose the connection to the real world and distance themselves from family and friends. Most of their interaction becomes virtual. According to social media and mental health statistics, the average teenager spends 4.7 hours on social networks every day. This is almost a third of the day. 

18. In 2015, 92% of teenagers had smartphones.

According to technology and depression statistics, it’s almost impossible to find a teenager without a smartphone nowadays. The virtual channel of communication has many advantages, such as connecting people who live on the other side of the world. However, their overuse in teens often leads to addiction. Spending too much time in the virtual world is a strong depression risk factor. 

19. In 2018, over 401,000 of teens have suffered from alcoholism. 

Because mood swings are frequent in teens, many of them find solace in alcohol. Adolescent mental health statistics from 2018 have revealed that nearly half a million teens in the US aged 12-17 suffer from alcoholism. Among other adverse effects, alcohol can also lead to some chronic physical and mental conditions, like depression. 

20. 29.8% of teens in the US have drunk at least one alcoholic drink before the age of 15.

Mood swings and aggressive behavior, physical harm, violence against family and peers, are just some of the consequences of alcohol abuse in teens, judging by the scientific facts about adolescence

21. 58% of teens under the age of 18 have drunk at least one alcoholic beverage. 

Around 7.1% million adolescents in the US aged 12-20 have had at least a few sips of some alcoholic drink in the past month alone, as is shown in adolescent mental health statistics for 2018

22. The older adolescents are, the more they show tendencies toward alcohol abuse.

Adolescent mental health stats also show that the percentage of alcohol abuse among female teens is higher than with male teens. 

23. Alcohol abuse among teens can be fatal. 

If we look at the following data from conduct disorder facts that were shared by the CDC from 2006-2010, we can see that alcohol abuse caused a terrifying number of teen deaths. A worrying 1580 deaths occurred as a result of motorcycle accidents, 1290 homicides under alcohol influence have taken place, 245 from alcoholic poisoning, and 492 suicides. 

24. Binge-drinking teens are at higher risk of developing depression.

Alcohol use disorder and depression often occur together, as it’s seen in teenage mental health stats. Many teens get depressed as a result of alcoholism and vice versa. It’s tough to distinguish what is the cause here and what is the consequence. Many parents notice that their child is suffering from depression only when he or she starts using alcohol. 

25. Teens who start drinking before the age of 15 are four times as likely to develop depression. 

Statistics of adolescent mental health and abuse clearly show that early drinking is linked to depression and anxiety, especially among girls. 

26. 14% of teens use illegal drugs.  

Some teens exhibit risky behavior that can lead to the use of illicit substances and addiction. A wide variety of factors can cause opiate abuse. Some of them include inadequate parental supervision of teens, domestic violence, as well as mental problems.

27. Alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana are the most commonly used illicit substances among teenagers. 

Adolescent mental health statistics show that two out of three students of 12th grade have tried alcohol. Furthermore, four out of ten 9th-12th graders smoke cigarettes. Among 12th graders, two out of ten students use drugs without medical prescription. 

28. Depression is linked to substance abuse. 

Teen depression statistics have shown that many teens opt for opiate abuse when coping with depression. What’s more, treatment for substance abuse can cause depression. 

29. It is estimated that only 10-15% of teens who need treatment receive actual treatment.

Opioid addiction is one of the most significant concerns in the US. According to statistics on mental illness, 80% of adolescents develop opioid addiction when treated in outpatient conditions.

30. Drug addictions and depression should be addressed systematically.

Both parents and adolescents suffering from depression and drug addictions should be educated at the same time. When the patient finishes with treatment for opioid addiction, treatment for depression should be resumed because untreated depression can lead to relapse. We acquired this data from youth mental health statistics.

Adolescent mental health statistics - depression

Eating Disorders

31. One person dies every 62 minutes due to an eating disorder. 

Each year, thousands of teens develop some type of eating disorder. They can have catastrophic consequences on adolescents’ health. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses, as is shown in mental illnesses in adolescence statistics. Eating disorders are more common in girls. 

32. 3% of teens suffer from eating disorders. 

Eating disorders in adolescence statistics show that 3% of teens have some undiagnosed eating disorder. The most common eating disorders are binge-eating disorder, anorexia, and bulimia. Signs indicating an eating disorder in adolescents are excessive worry about being overweight, a diet with insufficient calorie intake, use of the bathroom after each meal, and the feeling of guilt after each meal. 

33. As many as 0.9% of Americans have anorexia. 

Anorexia nervosa facts and statistics show that most girls and women die from this eating disorder. Anorexia is mainly caused by the loss of weight due to improper and limited diet. Approximately 50-80% of patients are genetically predisposed to develop anorexia and bulimia. 

34. Of all hospitalized teens with eating disorders, 90% are girls.

Not all teens have the same emotional sensitivity. Specifically, girls are more prone to some mental disorders than boys. Adolescent statistics on mental health and demographics have shown that girls have a higher propensity for psychiatric disorders than boys.

How to Help an Adolescent with Depression

35. Nearly half of all mental illnesses start developing at the age of 14.

CDC adolescent mental health statistics show that mental illnesses are the second leading cause of death among the population of 15-34 years of age. The US spends approximately $193.2 million to treat patients with severe mental illnesses.

36. Around 10-20% of mental health disorders in adolescents are undiagnosed and untreated.

The WHO mental health statistics estimate that there are many undiagnosed or untreated cases of mental health disorders in adolescents on a global scale. That is why it’s vital to help your teens adopt healthy habits. The more teenagers are exposed to risk factors, the bigger the chances they will develop mental illnesses. 

37. The divorce rate is increasing. 

If we look at adolescent mental health statistics from 1970, we can notice that the divorce rate has increased from 10% to 20%. As mentioned earlier, divorces can have a detrimental effect on the mental health of teenagers. During the 1980s, parents spent much more time communicating with their children than they do today. Consequently, the number of teens with mental illnesses was lower than it is today. 

38. 96.4% of teenagers acquired alcoholic drinks for free.

A staggering mental health statistics from 2018 show that most teens got alcohol for free the last time they drank. If we want to stop our teens from trying alcohol, we must keep it out of their reach. 

39. The number of teens suffering from mental illnesses hasn’t dropped over the years.

Considering mental health statistics from 2019 in the United States, we didn’t do much to prevent mental disorders in our teens in recent years. It means that we must increase awareness in both teens and parents with particular regard to reducing the risk factors for mental illnesses. 

40. Physical exercise is a natural treatment to fight depression.

One way to reduce the risk factors for mental illnesses is to encourage our teens to be more physically active and exercise. There is a significant correlation between physical activity and mental health, as can be seen from the following facts about exercise and mental health

  • Exercise reduces stress levels 
  • Exercise boosts ‘’happy’’ hormones 
  • It helps improve self-esteem 
  • Reduces anxiety 
  • Helps in teen drug abuse prevention. 

41. 79% of adolescents aged 11-16 are self-conscious about the appearance and care about their body image.

Exercising helps adolescents get in shape and reduces the risk of eating disorders. If we encourage our teens to be more physically active, the chances are they will not develop any kind of mental disorder, which can be deduced from emotional disturbance statistics.

42. 18-34% of adolescents with chronic depression and anxiety seek professional help. 

Adolescent mental health help seeking statistics reveal that around one in five adolescents are aware of their mental health problems and seek help from professionals. Usually, family and friends who also need help are supporting them in this decision. 

People who specialize in helping teens in preserving and improving mental health perform both the adolescent physical assessment and mental assessment, depending on the type of disorder. The time it takes to re-establish a healthy mindset is individual.


After looking at mental health by the numbers, we have concluded that the entire society must work together to help teens overcome this difficult period for them. Parents must establish control and communication with their children. Only in this way, the number of mental illnesses will decrease. We have to solve the root of the problem.  

Adolescent mental health statistics indicate that depression will be the leading mental health illness in 2030. We must start working on a solution immediately. 


What percentage of students have mental health issues? 

Data from 2014 show that 33% of all students have problems with mental illnesses, and data from 2016 shows that 89% of students have experienced issues with at least one mental disorder. 

What percent of high school students have a mental illness?

It is estimated that one in five students experiences a mental illness. 

What is the most common psychological problem in adolescence?

The most common psychological problems that occur in adolescence are anxiety disorders, eating disorders, depression, substance abuse disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

What is adolescent mental health?

Adolescent mental health is defined as ‘’a state of successful performance of mental function resulting in productive activities, fulfilling relationships with other people, and the ability to adapt to change and cope with adversity’’ during adolescence. 

Mental health problems among young people often are?

The most frequent mental health problems in young adults are suicidal behaviors, depression, substance abuse, and eating disorders. 

What are the five categories of mental illness?  

The five categories of mental illnesses are mood disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and psychotic disorders, dementia, and eating disorders. 

What percentage of kids have a mental illness? 

Approximately 13-20% of children living in the US experience a mental disorder in a given year.

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