Mental Health Research

Mental Health Research

A child’s health involves much more than the physical. The mind and body are inextricably linked. To achieve the best overall health outcomes for our children, we must address their behavioral health and their physical health.

Sadly, children’s mental health is one of the most overlooked and underfunded components of children’s wellness.

At Nationwide Children’s Hospital, we believe in caring for the whole child - that mental health is just as important as physical health. We combine research and care to change the future for children and families living with behavioral health conditions.

This research is critically needed:

  • Over one in five teenagers in the U.S. have had a mental health disorder that caused severe impairment in their ability to function.

  • Suicide has become the second leading cause of death in youth ages 10 – 19 years.

  • The rate of youth suicide has increased by 58 percent in the past decade.

  • Mental health disorders are the leading cause of disability in adolescents.

Behavioral health conditions are complex problems. They are often rooted in part by a dysfunction in the brain circuitry -- which we don’t fully understand. Unlike most physical illnesses, there are no blood tests, imaging scans or other objective measures to detect behavioral health conditions. In children, mental illness is even more challenging to diagnose and treat because certain behaviors often are mistaken for typical developmental changes.

In addition, barriers to care such as funding, access and stigma contribute to the health services gap for children with mental health needs. That gap continues to widen.

At Nationwide Children’s, we are closing that gap with research. Through genomic studies to understand the root of mental health illness in children. Through suicide prevention research and education. And through biobehavioral studies that investigate the complex interactions between the brain and the body.

Through research, we will better understand and treat children’s mental illness, helping kids everywhere. All children deserve a voice and a chance to reach their full potential. It’s time to give hope to every family living with mental illness. Together, we can transform children’s mental health.

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