Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health      

kidsdata advisory

The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health | November 5, 2014

Continuing to Climb: Mental Health Hospitalizations of California Children and Youth

Hospitalizations for mental health issues continue to rise among California children and youth, according to updated data on Nearly 40,000 children ages 5-19 were admitted to a hospital for mental health issues in 2013—that's 5 of every 1,000 children in that age bracket.

Mental health hospitalization rates are substantially higher among teens ages 15-19 than among children ages 5-14 (9.4 per 1,000 in 2013 compared to 2.6), but the rise is evident in both age groups. Most striking is the increase in the rate of mental health hospitalizations among 15-19-year-olds, which rose from 6.7 per 1,000 in 2007 to 9.4 in 2013.

Although hospitalization rates vary widely among counties, the rise is evident there, as well. Among counties with available data in 2013, the rate of hospitalizations due to mental health issues for 5-19-year-olds ranged from 1.2 to 7.1 per 1,000, and to as many as 12.5 per 1,000 15-19-year-olds in one county.

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. A 2014 study published in the journal Pediatrics found the most common reasons for child and youth mental health hospitalizations are depression and bipolar disorder.

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

Webinar: Using Student Homelessness Data to Advocate on Behalf of Children and Families

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
10 a.m. to 11 a.m. PST

If you work on behalf of children and families who are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless, this one-hour webinar is for you. Nearly 270,000 public school students in the state were homeless at some point in the 2012-2013 school year. New data from the California Homeless Youth Project, and available only on, are sorted by county, school district and legislative district. The data include information by grade level and nighttime residence. In this webinar, you'll learn more about this important new data set and how to use it in your work. Mascot
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Hospitalizations for Mental Health Issues, by Age Group
Years: 2002 to 2013
Age Group: 5-19 years

Mental Health Hospitalizations 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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