Kids and Mental Illness by the Numbers

3 Number of children in millions that are abused or neglected each year in the U.S.

3 Where suicide ranks as the cause of death for children age 10 to 14, after accidents and cancer.

3 The factor by which children of depressed parents are likely to develop depression as compared to children of non-depressed parents.

20 to 40%

of depressed children relapse within two years.

75% of youth treated at residential treatment centers who, within 7 years,

are readmitted to a mental-health facility or incarcerated.

For a complete listing of mental health offices and agencies go to Kansas and click on Mental Health.

Beginning in July, reporter Eric Adler and photographer Tammy Ljungblad followed the plights of five children inside Spofford Home, a nonprofit residential treatment center, which offered unprecedented access for this series. The Star chose the children based on their stories and parental cooperation. Parents, who wanted to raise awareness about children and mental illness, gave signed permission to peruse medical records, to record therapy sessions, and to conduct in-depth interviews with them, their children, therapists and others. Interviews with dozens of mental-health experts, and more than 3,000 pages of local, state and federal reports, were also used to prepare this series.

Adler, 47, has worked at The Star since 1985. His work has won numerous awards, including first place from the National Headliner Awards and the American Association of Sunday and Features Editors. He lives in Kansas City with his wife, Tamara, and 9-year-old son, Aidan.

Ljungblad, 43, has been at The Star for 17 years. Her photographs were part of The Star’s 1992 Pulitzer Prize winning series. She has also won awards from the National Press Photographers Association and the Missouri Press Association. She lives in Prairie Village with her husband, Brian, and 7-year-old son, Brett.

Bill Luening edited the series, Charles W. Gooch designed the pages and Don Munday edited the copy.