Published Online: September 26, 2006

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Survey: Mental Illnesses Less Understood by Young People Than Physical Illnesses

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Young people appear to have a greater understanding of physical illnesses and how to seek treatment than of mental illnesses, according to a survey by a market research company in collaboration with a mental-health research group.

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The survey of 1,318 children and teenagers ages 8 to 18 found that about three in four young people recognized asthma as a physical illness, but only about half recognized depression as a mental illness.

Conducted by Harris Interactive in partnership with the Research and Training Center on Family Support and Children’s Mental Health, based at Portland State University in Portland, Ore., the survey also found that a child with depression or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is more likely to be socially shunned than one who has asthma.

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