National survey shows room for improvement when it comes to mental health care access for children, teens

A five-year study from the University of Michigan sought to better understand access to mental health services in communities across the United States for children and teenagers. The study was based on the perceptions of adults who work or volunteer at the local level as advocates for children. Participants were asked about availability to health care services within their communities.

More than half of the respondents reported that there is good availability to hospital and primary care; only 30 percent reported the same level of access for mental health care.

In a press release from the University of Michigan Health System, 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, said:

“These findings indicate low availability of mental health care for children and teens in the majority of communities across the U.S. 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 researchers surveyed 2,311 adults from 48 states and the District of Columbia who either work or volunteer with children. Check out the full report here.