Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health      

kidsdata advisory

The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health | February 12, 2014

Mental Health Hospitalizations
Rising for CA Children, Youth

While rates of hospitalization of adults for mental health issues have fallen in recent years, rates are increasing for California's youth, especially for older teenagers. Mental health hospitalization rates of teens ages 15-19 rose 34 percent between 2007 and 2012 (from 6.7 to 9.0 per 1,000), according to newly available data from

In 2012, there were 12,538 hospitalizations for mental health issues among children ages 5-14 in California (a rate of 2.5 per 1,000), and 25,125 among youth ages 15-19 (9.0 per 1,000). 

The statewide rate of hospitalizations has fluctuated in the past decade, falling for both children and youth between 2002 and 2007, then rising between 2007 and 2012.

Among counties with available data in 2012, the rate of hospitalizations due to mental health issues ranged from 0.6 to 4.7 per 1,000 children ages 5-14, and from 2.6 to 11.7 per 1,000 teens ages 15-19.

See mental health hospitalization data by age and county >>

Nationwide, the prevalence of mental health disorders in children and youth is rising, with an estimated one in five American children experiencing mental disorders ranging from mild to life-threatening, according to a 2013 CDC study.

Experts who have studied mental health hospitalizations of children and youth say that while rates of these hospitalizations are higher, in-patient stays are shorter than in previous years because of changes in health insurance authorizations for hospitalization and a decrease in available psychiatric beds.

Read more about mental health hospitalizations in California, including policy implications >>

See Mental Health Data on California Children and Youth

Helpful Links

Mental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Mental Health Surveillance Among Children — United States, 2005–2011, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Center for Children in Poverty: Children’s Mental Health

National Institute of Mental Health: Child and Adolescent Mental Health

Social and Emotional Development in Children and Adolescents Knowledge Path

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Hospitalizations for Mental Health Issues, by Age Group (California, 2002-2012)

Mengal Health Data Mascots is a program of the Lucile Packard Foundation of Children's Health, which uses data to promote the health and well being of children.
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