The US Department of Health and Human Services has announced 3 key actions to strengthen health care for US children, including addressing the mental health crisis in youths.
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced 3 key actions which could strengthen access to healthcare for children nationwide. This is part of the work by the HHS to address the mental health crisis in the United States and its impact on children.
In a new guidance document, the HHS reminded states that they are required to provide behavioral health services for children as a part of Medicaid. States were urged to use their resources to improve mental health care for children.
Another guidance document urged the expanding of school-based health care for children, which would include mental health care. The third document brought up implementing a rule for states to report certain quality measures which would strengthen Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This would give millions of children access to high quality mental health care.
Efforts from the HHS coincide with the Biden-Harris Administration’s work on addressing the mental health crisis in children. This work has involved a letter to governors urging them to put more resources into improving the mental health of students, and a joint-department effort by the HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to put more effort into school-based health services.
“As we begin the school year, a top priority of the Biden Administration is to ensure all children have access to the full range of care and support they need to stay healthy and thrive – including mental health services,” said Becerra.
In the years prior to the pandemic, mental health issues ranging from anxiety to depression and suicidal thoughts had been observed in 1 out of 5 children aged 3 to 17 years in the United States. The pandemic has contributed further to these issues, leading to over 40% of high school students consistently feeling sad or hopeless. More than half of parents and caregivers have also expressed concern over their children’s mental health.
Medicaid and CHIP have been used to alleviate these issues, providing health care to over 51% of children in America. The recent actions from the HHS work to expand these health care, aiding children as they return to school.
As American families prepare for back-to-school, Biden-Harris administration strengthens access to high-quality, comprehensive health care for children. HHS Press Office. August 18, 2022. Accessed August 22, 2022.https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2022/08/18/as-american-families-prepare-for-back-to-school-biden-harris-administration-strengthens-access-high-quality-comprehensive-health-care-for-children.html