As a society, we are on the threshold of a new understanding of, and—one hopes—a new attitude toward, mental illness. A number of recent developments are responsible for this change:
- Advances in brain science, and particularly the role of early-experienced toxic stress;
- Reports of substantial, and incompletely understood, rises in the prevalence among children of autism spectrum disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other emotional or behavioral difficulties.
- A new recognition of the magnitude of the issues surrounding our combat veterans (and their families) with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other mental illness; and,
- Recent deadly attacks by individuals whose mental illness was at least one factor precipitating their behavior.
These events have helped call into question many of our prior assumptions about mental illness: its prevalence, its origins, and the ways we address it through both treatment and prevention.
Source: Child Trends