Many Children With Emotional or Behavioral Conditions Do Not Receive Treatment or Counseling
Sound mental health prepares young people to meet the challenges of growing up and becoming productive and engaged adults. Most emotional and behavioral conditions emerge in childhood or young adulthood, and, if not identified and treated, can contribute to negative developmental, educational, and health outcomes throughout life.
Anxiety, behavior problems, and depression are the most common mental health disorders among children in the United States. Often, a child with one of these conditions has another at the same time, multiplying the challenges.
New data collected from parents and caregivers between 2017 and 2021 show that an estimated 12% of California children ages 3-17 had one or more diagnosed mental health conditions—attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety problems, behavioral or conduct problems, or depression—at the time of survey. Just over half of these children (52%) received mental health treatment or counseling in the previous year, while the remainder were reported as either not needing services or not receiving the services they needed. By comparison, nationwide, 17% of children had diagnosed conditions, and a similar share (53%) had received treatment or counseling in the previous year.
Among children with special health care needs (CSHCN)—who have or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition and require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally—the estimated prevalence of mental health conditions is more than three times higher than in the general child population, statewide and nationally.
Even with higher prevalence rates, many CSHCN do not receive mental health treatment. In 2017-2021, 58% of California CSHCN with emotional or behavioral conditions had received mental health services in the previous year, compared with 62% of CSHCN nationwide.
Children With Special Health Care Needs Receiving Mental Health Services in the Previous Year, Among Those With Emotional or Behavioral Conditions: 2017-2021
To ensure that all children and their families receive the mental health care they need, regardless of special needs status, region, health insurance coverage, socioeconomics, race/ethnicity, or other factors, policymakers and other leaders can promote cross-sector strategies to improve timely access to adequate screenings and appropriate specialty providers. Decisionmakers should also prioritize coordinated, continuous care and education and assistance in navigating complex service systems, particularly for families with multiple needs.
Read more about children’s emotional health, characteristics of children with special needs, and access to services for children with special needs.
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Posted by kidsdata.org
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