Many Kids, Teens Lack Mental Healthcare Access: Survey

Friday, 05 Apr 2013 10:57 AM

By Nick Tate

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A new national survey of child welfare experts provides fresh evidence that many young Americans don’t have appropriate access to mental healthcare.
The University of Michigan survey of specialists who work with children and teens revealed that more than half believe there is "lots of availability" for teens to need hospital care (55 percent) and primary care (56 percent) in their communities, but only 30 percent say young people have "lots of availability" for mental healthcare.
The survey was commission by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation through the UM National Voices Project to gauge healthcare access for American children and teens, based on the perceptions of individuals who work and volunteer on behalf of children day-to-day.
"These findings indicate low availability of mental healthcare for children and teens in the majority of communities across the U.S.," said Matthew M. Davis, M.D., director of the National Voices Project and an associate professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases at the University of Michigan Medical School.
"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."
The survey also showed that minorities face even greater barriers to access to all healthcare services, including mental health.

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