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 required treatment or counseling, 61.0 percent received mental health care or counseling in the past year. This percentage did not vary significantly across locations.

Receipt of services varied differentially with age groups across locations. In urban areas, children aged 6–11 and 12–17 years were more likely than younger children to receive needed mental health services, while children in large rural areas aged 12–17 years were more likely than both of the younger age groups to have done so. In small rural areas, however, children aged 6–11 years were more likely than both younger and older children to have received mental health services: 68.6 percent of 6- to 11-year-olds versus 52.6 and 57.2 percent of those aged 2–5 and 12–17 years, respectively.

Among children aged 2–5 years, those in large rural areas (35.8 percent) were significantly less likely than children in small rural (52.6 percent) and urban areas (43.4 percent) to have received needed mental health services in the previous year. The proportions of older children receiving services did not vary by location.

In urban areas, uninsured children and those with public insurance were far less likely than those with private insurance to receive the mental health services they needed (43.5 and 58.2 versus 67.9 percent, respectively). There were no significant differences in the receipt of mental health services among publicly and privately insured children in rural areas.

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