Nearly 15% of children received mental health care in 2021: CDC

Children sitting with the doctor

Mental health

June 13, 2023 | 4:27pm


Amid skyrocketing rates of mental ill health among U.S. youth, nearly 15 percent of children received mental health care in 2021, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The findings, released Tuesday, suggest poor mental health is common among American teens.

Namely, the researchers found that more older children, ages 12 to 17, received treatment for mental health barriers than those aged 5 to 11, while more white children received treatment for mental health than any other race.

Recent statistics show that 5.8 million children suffer from anxiety and 2.7 million battle depression.

As depression rates rise, experts believe the mental health problems plaguing young Americans are spurred by the so-called loneliness epidemic declared by surgeon general Dr. Vivek Murthy last month.

One of the more worrying factors driving mental health problems among young people is a lack of community and connection, Dr. ominous warning.


Last month, the surgeon general warned of an epidemic of loneliness plaguing young people across the United States.
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Other contributing factors, he added, include the COVID-19 pandemic, school shootings, economic tensions and racial violence.

We need to recognize the effects of these issues on young people and ourselves and work to make changes that will improve the world young people live in, said Erickson-Schroth, who was not involved in the CDC research.

Using data from the 2021 National Health Interview Survey, CDC researchers revealed that 14.9 percent of children ages 5-17 were treated for their overall mental health, while more boys than girls, 9% and 7.3%, respectively, took medications for their diagnosis.

When the data was broken down by age, adolescent children were treated more often than younger children for their mental health, 18.9% versus 11.3%.


Non-white children were at a disadvantage when it came to care.
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The CDC also reported that Asian children were less likely to receive treatment and medication for mental health barriers than other races, while white children were more likely to receive treatment, medication, and general care.

Only 4.4% of Asian children received care, compared to 10.3% of Hispanic children, 12.5% ​​of Black children and 18.3% of White children.

Young people of color are less likely to have access to treatment due to lower health insurance coverage rates and less disposable income to spend on health care, Erickson-Schroth told The Post. When receiving treatment, young people of color are less likely to have access to someone who understands their background.

While the psychology profession is diversifying, the clear majority is still white, he added.


Young people of color are less likely to have access to care because of lower health insurance coverage rates and less disposable income to spend on health care, Erickson-Schroth said.
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Urbanization has also played a role in the treatment, the CDC reported, with busy metropolises at a disadvantage.

The agency found that children in non-urban areas were more likely to receive mental health care than those in medium-sized and large cities.

The emerging research follows years of reports that American teenagers experience detrimental mental health effects from excessive use of social media.

With about one in five children aged 8-12 on social media in 2021, experts and parents alike are warning against the harm of popular platforms like TikTok and Instagram, on which content reportedly drove users into depression or perpetuated negative body images.


Previous reports have warned of the negative effects of social media on adolescent mental health.
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Despite an alarming number of teens reporting mental health problems, experts say many teens may not know they are seeking help.

Getting professional help starts with research, and many young people don’t know that what they’re struggling with is something they can get help with, Erickson-Schroth said.

We need to encourage young people to talk about mental health and reach out to the people in their lives who can connect them to resources.





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