CDC: Parents seek mental health care for 15% of their children

September 18, 2008

U.S. parents seek assistance from a health care professional or school employee regarding emotional and behavorial issues for 14.5% of children ages 4 to 17, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report has found.

U.S. parents seek assistance from a health care provider or school employee regarding emotional and behavorial issues for 14.5% of children ages 4 to 17, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report has found.

Using data from 17,157 children for the 2005-2006 National Health Interview Survey, researchers at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics also learned that nearly 18% of boys and 11% of girls surveyed had parents who asked about mental health issues. In addition, roughly 5% of children surveyed were prescribed medication for difficulties with emotions or behavior, and 89% of children were prescribed medication for problems with concentration, hyperactivity, or impulsivity.

Furthermore, approximately 5% of children received "treatment other than medication" for emotional or behavioral problems. Sixty percent of this subgroup of children received this treatment from a mental health private practice, clinic, or center.

The investigators concluded that their report indicates a need for increased access to more mental health service options for children and adolescents, including medication and non-medication therapies.

The full CDC report can be accessed here.