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 aged 2-17 years who had an ongoing emotional, developmental, or behavioral problem that, in the view of their parents, required treatment or counseling, 61.0 percent received mental health care or counseling in the previous year. Older children were more likely to receive needed mental health care; 64.1 percent of children aged 12-17 years with emotional, developmental, or behavioral problems received mental health care in the previous year, compared to 62.6 percent of 6- to 11-year-olds and 43.4 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 have private insurance, 66.0 percent received needed mental health services, as did 59.2 percent of publicly-insured children. Of uninsured children with emotional, developmental, or behavioral problems who needed mental health care, only 41.9 percent received any mental health care or counseling during the previous year.

Among children aged 2-17 years with emotional, developmental, and behavioral problems requiring treatment, Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black children were least likely to receive mental health treatment or counseling (53.8 and 44.9 percent, respectively), compared to 68.1 percent of non-Hispanic While children and 64.7 percent of non-Hispanic children of other races.