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Mental Health Care

Mental health services, including counseling, medications, or specialized therapies, may be beneficial for children with behavioral or emotional problems. However, these services may not be readily available to all children who need them.

Among children who had an ongoing emotional, developmental, or behavioral problem that required treatment or counseling, 60.0 percent received mental health care or counseling in the past year. Older children were more likely to receive needed mental health care; 66.3 percent of children aged 12-17 years with emotional, developmental, or behavioral problems received mental health care in the past year, compared to 57.8 percent of 6- to 11-year-olds and 42.2 percent of those aged 2-5 years requiring treatment or counseling.

Children with any health insurance coverage were also more likely to receive needed mental health services than those without coverage. Of children with emotional, developmental, or behavioral problems who had private insurance, 63.4 percent received needed mental health services, as did 59.8 percent of publicly-insured children. Of uninsured children with emotional, developmental, or behavioral problems who needed mental health care, only 44.5 percent received any mental health care or counseling during the past year.

Among children aged 2-17 years with emotional, developmental, and behavioral problems requiring treatment, Hispanic children and children of other races were least likely to receive mental health treatment or counseling (50.6 and 52.9 percent, respectively), compared to 73.8 percent of multiracial children and 63.8 percent of White children.


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