Mental Health Care for Kids Lacking in U.S.

Modesto Morganelli
Febbraio 14, 2019

Roughly one in six USA kids have at least one mental health disorder, and only about half of them receive treatment from a mental health professional, a new study suggests.

Peterson found that, based on the nationally representative survey and estimates, about 7.7 million USA children, or about 16.5%, have at least one of those disorders.

The conditions include depression, anxiety or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. For example, the prevalence of children with at least one mental health disorder ranged from 7.6 percent in Hawaii to 27.2 percent in ME and the prevalence of children with a mental health disorder not treated or counseled by a mental health professional ranged from 29.5 percent in Washington, D.C., to 72.2 percent in North Carolina. They also pose the greatest risk for long-term problems if not treated early, says study senior author Mark D. Peterson, PhD, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Then, the survey also asked parents who reported a mental health condition: "During the past 12 months, has this child received any treatment or counselling from a mental health professional (including) psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, and clinical social workers?"

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Centre is being built on AHS-owned land just east of the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital. Coverage too is an issue she said.

According to data from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, majority of the country faces a severe shortage of practicing child and adolescent psychiatrists, with fewer than 17 providers available per 100,000 children. There are long wait times, say experts.

Among the challenges, families are concerned about the stigma of a mental health condition and being able to afford treatment.

Parents responded to a prompt: "Has a doctor or other health care provider EVER told you that this child has" a mental health disorder.

"All of these systems that are supposed to be caring for children often times are not talking to each other", said Robles-Ramamurthy. Mautone leads the Healthy Minds, Healthy Kids Initiative at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia that provides support where needed.

"We are readily available, many times the same day, to explain our service, meet the family and begin to understand what the challenges are", she added.

The study authors wrote, "In children, mental health disorders have deleterious consequences on individual and socioeconomic factors and can impede healthful transitioning into adulthood, and the incidence of mental health disorders has been increasing over the decades".

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