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Many children not receiving needed mental health services

October 21, 2010
by Press Release
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Rockville, MD — Of nearly 7.4 million children in the United States diagnosed with emotional, behavioral, or developmental conditions, a disproportionate number do not get the mental health services they need because they are underinsured, according to a new report released by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The study also finds that boys, adolescents, and children from low-income families are affected by conditions such as depression or Attention Deficit Disorder at higher rates than other children, but that adequate health services for these children remain an unmet need.

The report, "The Mental and Emotional Well-Being of Children: A Portrait of States and the Nation 2007," identified seven emotional, behavioral, or developmental conditions: depression, anxiety, Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, conduct disorders, autism spectrum disorders, developmental delay and Tourette Syndrome. Children with these conditions can benefit from a variety of therapies including counseling and medication.

"Accessing mental health services has always been a challenge," said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield PhD, RN. "HRSA is committed to ensuring that mental health is fully integrated into primary healthcare, and we're working diligently to address the challenge of meeting the mental health needs of America's children in vulnerable and underserved communities."

The National Survey of Children's Health is sponsored by the Health Resources and Services Administration's Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Technical appendices at the end of the report present information about the survey methodology, sample and the specific questions that were asked about emotional, behavioral, and developmental conditions. More in-depth information about the survey and its findings can be found at: