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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Science News About Children and Adolescents

mom holding baby, talking to doctor
Media Advisory: Prototype App for Mobile Devices Could Screen Children at Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder

A mobile app was successful at distinguishing toddlers diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) from typically developing toddlers based on their eye movements while watching videos, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

a young woman looks pensively out a window
Study Identifies Risk Factors for Elevated Anxiety in Young Adults During COVID-19 Pandemic

A new study has identified early risk factors that predicted heightened anxiety in young adults during the coronavirus pandemic.

Teen girl looking off into the distance
Adaptive Screener May Help Identify Youth at Risk of Suicide

In a study supported by NIMH, researchers have developed a computerized adaptive screener that can help identify youth at risk for attempting suicide.

photo of residential street with bright street lights at dusk
Outdoor Light Linked with Teens’ Sleep and Mental Health

A large-scale study of U.S. teens shows associations between outdoor, artificial light at night and health outcomes.

Black silhouette of a toddler, teen, and adult placed against a yellow and blue background.
Infant Temperament Predicts Personality More Than 20 Years Later

Researchers investigating how temperament shapes adult life-course outcomes have found that behavioral inhibition in infancy predicts a reserved, introverted personality at age 26 and for some, a risk of internalizing psychopathology such as anxiety and depression.

National Institute of Mental Health
Media Advisory: NIMH Experts Available to Discuss Mental Health Concerns Related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

Experts from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) are available to speak on a variety of topics related to mental health and the coronavirus pandemic, such as the effects of the pandemic and isolation on those with and without mental illnesses; healthy ways to deal with stress, anxiety, and loneliness; how to talk with children and teens about the coronavirus; and how people can find mental health help and support if they need it.

Infant and female caregiver holding tablet and speaking with doctor.
NIH Awards Funding for Early Autism Screening

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded more than four million dollars in FY 2019 to support seven research projects aimed at developing and validating screening tools to detect signs of autism spectrum disorder in the first year of life.

Image showing a sagittal view of a human brain with the hippocampus and amygdala marked
Study Reveals Sex-Based Differences in the Development of Brain Hubs Involved in Memory and Emotion

Researchers have uncovered sex-based differences in the development of the hippocampus and amygdala—brain areas that have been implicated in the biology of several mental disorders that impact males and females differently.

Speaking Up About Mental Health Contest Winners
NIH Announces Winners of High School Mental Health Essay Contest

NIH announces 10 winners of the “Speaking Up About Mental Health! This Is My Story” national essay challenge, aimed at spurring conversations among youth about mental health and encouraging them to seek support for themselves and others.

a group of young people sits on grass in the sun
NIH Announces Funding Awards for National Early Psychosis Learning Community

NIMH awarded six research grants for studies to develop a learning health care system for the treatment of early psychosis.

ALACRITY - Progress, Promising Practices, and Future Prospects - Center Directors' Meeting - July 16-17, 1029, Bethesda, MD
Mental Health Research Centers Forge Collaborations – with ALACRITY

Mental health research center directors emerged from a recent meeting with a renewed commitment to help each other achieve their common mission – to transform care of children, adolescents and adults with severe psychiatric disorders.

photo of teen girl propped on elbows, looking at a phone
Release of “13 Reasons Why” Associated with Increase in Youth Suicide Rates

A study conducted by researchers at several universities, hospitals, and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that the Netflix show “13 Reasons Why” was associated with a 28.9% increase in suicide rates among U.S. youth ages 10-17 in the month (April 2017) following the shows release, after accounting for ongoing trends in suicide rates.

Speaking Up About Mental Health essay contest poster
Nationwide Essay Contest Challenges High Schoolers to be Frank About Mental Health

The National Institutes of Health invites students ages 16 to 18 years old to participate in the “Speaking Up About Mental Health!” essay contest to explore ways to address the stigma and social barriers that adolescents from racial and ethnic minority populations may face when seeking mental health treatment.

Image showing differences in fMRI activation between children with and without anhedonia during reward anticipation.
NIH Study Reveals Differences in Brain Activity in Children with Anhedonia

Researchers have identified changes in brain connectivity and brain activity during rest and reward anticipation in children with anhedonia, a condition where people lose interest and pleasure in activities they used to enjoy.

Preteen girl talks to doctor in hospital
NIH Study Shows Many Preteens Screen Positive for Suicide Risk During ER Visits

A research team found nearly one-third of youth ages 10 to 12 years screened positive for suicide risk in emergency department settings, including those seeking help for physical concerns only.

Doctor offering support to a teen
New Pathways for Implementing Universal Suicide Risk Screening in Healthcare Settings

A new report provides guidance on how to implement universal suicide risk screening of youth in medical settings. The report describes a way for hospitals to address the rising suicide rate in a way that is flexible and mindful of limited resources.

a somber boy wearing a backwards baseball cap looks at the camera
Understanding the Brain Mechanisms of Irritability in Youth

Researchers have identified differences in how the brains of irritable youth react to frustration, findings that could provide new paths for developing treatments for children and adolescents with severe irritability.

MRI scan of infant's brain
Inflammation in Pregnant Moms Linked to Child’s Brain Development

High levels of maternal inflammation during pregnancy have been linked to effects in children, including reduced brain circuit communications and altered long-distance brain wiring at birth, poorer cognitive function at one year – and to reduced impulse control and working memory at two years.

a finger points to a section of a brain scan on a screen
“Covert” Neurofeedback Tunes-up the Social Brain in ASD

Young people with autism unknowingly tuned up flagging neural connections by playing a picture puzzle game that was rigged by their own brain activity.

teen girl sitting on couch with arms crossed
Therapy Reduces Risk in Suicidal Youth

A recent clinical trial of a psychotherapy called dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)—which has been shown to be effective in reducing suicide-related behavior in adults—showed that DBT can also reduce suicide attempts and suicidal behavior in adolescents.

Photo of young boy sitting on a park bench.
Intervention Shows Promise for Treating Depression in Preschool-Aged Children

Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have shown that a therapy-based treatment for disruptive behavioral disorders can be adapted and used as an effective treatment option for early childhood depression.

graph excerpt showing age-specific incidence rate ratios for suicide
Age-Related Racial Disparity in Suicide Rates Among U.S. Youth

Researchers have discovered an age-related racial disparity in suicide rates for U.S. youth between the ages of 5 and 17. The findings suggest a need for more research into contributing factors and targeted interventions for children.

NIMH Twitter Chat
NIMH to Host Twitter Chat on Teen Depression

On May 3, 2018, join NIMH for a Twitter chat on teen depression with experts Dr. Argyris Stringaris and Dr. Ken Towbin.

Logo for Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development
NIH Releases First Dataset from Unprecedented Study of Adolescent Brain Development

The National Institutes of Health released to the scientific community an unparalleled dataset from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study.

teen boy smiles at doctor
Intramural Researchers Develop Suicide Risk Screening Toolkit for Medical Settings

NIMH researchers have developed a brief screening questionnaire for medical professionals to identify youth at risk for suicide.

image of an astrocyte
Patient-Derived Support Cells Stunt Mouse Brain Development

Support cells generated from patients with childhood onset schizophrenia stunted neural circuit development when grafted into developing mouse brains.

PANDAS happy children running outside
Guidelines published for treating PANS/PANDAS

An expert panel has published guidelines for treatment of Pediatric Acute Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) and a subset of patients diagnosed with PAN Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infection (PANDAS).

Diffusion image shows long distance connections in brain of study participant.
Connections Strengthen Within Specialized Networks as Brain’s Executive Function Matures

As we grow up, our brain’s specialized networks become more structurally segregated, contributing to improved executive functioning. These densely interconnected “modules” process information for key functions that underlie development of mental control and self-regulation.

teens sitting on stairs
Pediatrics-based Brief Therapy Outdoes Referral for Youths with Anxiety and Depression

A streamlined behavioral therapy delivered in a pediatrics practice offered much greater benefit to youth with anxiety and depression than a more standard referral to mental health care with follow-up in a clinical trial comparing the two approaches.

Emergency sign on hospital
Higher Death Rate Among Youth with First Episode Psychosis

A new study shows that young people with first episode psychosis have a much higher death rate than previously thought. Researchers looked at people aged 16-30 and found that the group died at a rate at least 24 times greater than the same age group in the general population.