Access to mental health care lacking for children, teens across the U.S.

Tue Apr 2, 2013 2:36pm EDT

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National survey shows adults who work and volunteer with children and teens do
not believe youth have appropriate access to mental health care  

ANN ARBOR, Mich.,  April 2, 2013  /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Everyday, news
reports detail the impact of the deficiencies in the nation's mental health care
services. Even more startling, a survey from the  University of Michigan 
reveals that many adults across the U.S.  believe children and teens have
extremely limited or no access to appropriate mental health care services.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation commissioned the National Voices Project to
facilitate a five year study to gauge opportunities available for children and
teens at the local level in communities across the U.S. Officials at the
National Voices Project based their study on the perceptions held by adults who
work and volunteer on behalf of children day-to-day.

"The adults in the National Voices Project survey work or volunteer on behalf of
kids. These are the adults who are perhaps best positioned to refer children and
teens to the healthcare services they need," says  Matthew M. Davis, M.D.,
M.A.P.P., director of the National Voices Project, associate professor of
Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases at the  University of Michigan  Medical
School and associate professor of Public Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of
Public Policy.   

Survey participants were asked how much availability there is in their
communities for children and teens to receive healthcare services. More than
half of all respondents note that there is "lots of availability" for teens to
have hospital care (55%) and primary care (56%) in their communities, but across
all healthcare services, only 30% of respondents reported "lots of availability"
for mental health care. Healthcare availability for children was very similar.  

"These findings indicate low availability of mental health care for children and
teens in the majority of communities across the U.S.," says Davis. "Even in
communities where there are lots of opportunities for children and teens to get
primary care or hospital care, access to mental health care is lacking."  

In addition, in communities where respondents perceived racial/ethnic
inequities, they consistently reported less access to all healthcare services,
including mental health, especially for teens.  

The full survey shows that where there are perceived inequities at the community
level there are also perceptions of diminished opportunities for young children
and teens in the domains of nutrition, health, and healthcare.  

To read the full report, please visit:

Data Source: Data in the above release are based on responses from National
Voices Project Survey 2, fielded in  August 2012. The National Voices Project
(NVP) is conducted in partnership with GfK, an international survey research
organization that maintains KnowledgePanel and the KnowledgePanel Latino,
nationally representative web-enabled panels of adult members of households
across  the United States. Survey respondents included 2,311 adults from 48
states and D.C. that work or volunteer with children. 1,264 respondents have
jobs that affect education, healthcare, economic opportunities, or community and
civic engagement for children.  Another 1,047 respondent's volunteer in ways
that affect education, healthcare, economic opportunities, or community and
civic engagement for children resulting in higher rates of abuse and overdoses
among all age groups including children and teens.

SOURCE   University of Michigan  Health System

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