Teen looking out a window

8 Facts About Early Intervention

Aug 26, 2021

When a young person has a mental illness, it’s important they get the care they need. Getting the right treatment early on can make a huge difference in someone’s life. 

That’s what early intervention is all about: addressing mental health concerns when they arise. Below are 8 facts about intervention. 


1.Half of mental illnesses present symptoms by age 14. Three-quarters develop by age 24. Because these disorders can present differently than they do in adults, knowing the signs and watching out for them is important.


2. The average delay between experiencing symptoms and starting treatment is 11 years. Delays in getting treatment can happen for a variety of reasons, such as stigma, lack of access to resources, or lack of understanding of one’s symptoms.


3. 16.5% of youth ages 6-17 experience a mental illness in a given year. Of those, only around half receive treatment. Mental healthcare can be hard to access due to cost, location, lack of culturally competent services, or many other factors. While early invention is critical, it’s often inaccessible.


4. The environment a child grows up in can put them at a greater risk for developing a mental illness. Early intervention can mean making sure children live in an environment where they feel safe, have good relationships with others, and are able to express their feelings.


5. Around 50% of youth ages 14 and older living with a mental illness drop out of high school. If a mental illness is left untreated, youth are less likely to experience success in school, work, and their finances as they get older.


6. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in youth aged 15-24, and the second leading cause of death in people aged 10-34. 90% of youth who die by suicide have a mental illness. Early intervention can decrease suicide risk. 


7. Early intervention for teens means determining their mental health needs, educating youth on mental health, and providing them with access to appropriate treatment. When youth have the insight, knowledge, and tools, they can move forward with recovery.


8. When youth receive treatment early, they can avoid the long-term effects of mental illness and delays in development. But no matter what age you are, it’s never too late to seek out mental health treatment. Recovery is always possible.


Mental Health Services for Youth

Guild’s Assertive Community Treatment services and Youth ACT services know that early intervention is crucial for recovery. We’re here when you need us.

Want to get started with our ACT or Youth ACT services? Call our Community Access team at (651) 925-8490.

Interested in supporting our life-saving services? Donate now.



Prevention and Early Intervention in Mental Health, Mental Health America.

Mental Illness in Children: Know the Signs, Mayo Clinic.

Mental Health by the Numbers, National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Youth Mental Health, Mental Health America.

Children’s Mental Health in America, National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota.

Prevention and Early Intervention in Mental Health – Puberty to Early Adulthood, Mental Health America.