What Are Childhood Mental Disorders?

Mental health in childhood means reaching developmental and emotional milestones, and learning healthy social skills and how to cope when there are problems. Mentally healthy children have a positive quality of life and can function well at home, in school, and in their communities. This website provides information about children’s mental healthLearn more about specific child mental health conditions, treatments, prevention, and public health research on children’s mental health.


Mental disorders among children are described as serious changes in the way children typically learn, behave, or handle their emotions, which cause distress and problems getting through the day. Many children occasionally have problems like fears and worries, or disruptive behaviors. If symptoms are severe and persistent, and interfere with school, home, or play activities, the child may be diagnosed with a mental disorder.

Among the more common mental disorders that can be diagnosed in childhood are attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, and behavior disorders.
Other childhood disorders and concerns that affect how children learn, behave, or handle their emotions can include learning and developmental disabilities, autism, and risk factors like substance use and self-harm.

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