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Mental Health Treatment

Narrative

In 2010, 2.9 million, or 12.2 percent, of adolescents aged 12 to 17 received past-year treatment or counseling for problems with emotions or behavior (not related to drug or alcohol use) in a specialty mental health setting, including both inpatient and outpatient care (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site). Inpatient care includes treatment or counseling from an overnight or longer stay in a hospital, residential treatment center, or foster care or therapeutic foster care home, and outpatient care includes services from a private therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, or counselor; mental health clinic or center; partial day hospital or day treatment program; or in-home therapist, counselor, or family preservation worker.

A similar proportion of adolescents received mental health services in an educational setting, including counseling from a school social worker, psychologist, or counselor (12.3 percent), while 2.5 percent received services from a pediatrician or other family doctor in a medical setting; less than 1 percent of adolescents received mental health services in a juvenile justice setting in the past 12 months. Approximately 5 percent of adolescents received mental health services in both a specialty mental health setting and either an educational or a medical setting.

A greater proportion of females received specialty mental health services (14.4 percent) than males (10.1 percent) (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site). In general, few racial or ethnic differences in service site for past-year treatment were observed. However, non-Hispanic Asian children were least likely to receive services in a specialty mental health setting (3.5 percent) while non-Hispanic Black children were more likely to receive services in an educational setting (15.5 percent) than non- Hispanic White and Hispanic children (11.6 and 11.8 percent, respectively; data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).

The most common reported reason for service use was feeling depressed. This was the case for nearly half of adolescents who received services in a specialty mental health setting, and over one-third of those who received services in an educational setting. Overall, reasons for treatment or counseling varied by service site. For example, problems with home/family was reported as the reason for seeking services by 30.5 percent of those seeking care in a specialty mental health setting compared to 20.5 and 10.7 percent of those treated in educational and medical settings, respectively.

Graphs

This image is described in the Data section.

mental health service use graph

This image is described in the Data section.

reasons for mental health service graph

Data

Past-Year Mental Health Service Use Among Adolescents Aged 12-17,* by Service Site, 2010

Percent of adolescents:

  • Outpatient: 10.9
  • Inpatient: 2.4
  • Educational: 12.3
  • Medical: 2.5
  • Multiple: 5.2**

*Among adolescents who received past-year mental health treatment or counseling for problems with emotions or behavior.
**Inpatient or Outpatient services in addition to services received in either an educational or medical setting.

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Findings, NSDUH Series H-42, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 11-4667. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012. Accessed: May 18, 2012.

Selected Reasons* for Mental Health Service Use Among Adolescents Aged 12-17,** by Service Site, 2010
Reasons for Service Percent of Adolescents
Specialty Mental Health Education Medical
*Respondents could report multiple reasons.
**Among adolescents who received past-year mental health treatment or counseling.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Findings, NSDUH Series H-42, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 11-4667. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012. Accessed: May 18, 2012.
Suicidal Thoughts/Actions 20.8 10.5 11.8
Depressed 47.6 34.9 39.2
Rule Breaking/Acting Out 25.0 20.6 16.3
Problems with Home/Family 30.5 20.5 10.7
Problems with Friends 11.8 19.0 3.3
Problems at School 17.9 22.3 12.4