Children’s Use of Psychiatric Services on the Rise, NEJM Article Finds
A new study using data from AHRQ’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) found that the percentage of children 6 to 17 years old receiving outpatient mental health service increased from 9.2 percent in 1996–1998 to 13.3 percent in 2010–2012. Youths with less severe or no impairment accounted for a significant amount of the increase. Researchers calculated that 4.19 million youths with less severe or no mental health impairment used mental health services in 2010–2012, up from 2.74 million in 1996–1998. The number of youths with severe impairment who received services, meanwhile, increased from about 1.6 million to 2.34 million in the same time period. Fewer than half of youths with severe impairment, however, accessed mental care services in 2010–2012, researchers found. The study, led by Mark Olfson, M.D., M.P.H., of the Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, used data from the 1996–1998, 2003–2005 and 2010–2012 MEPS to examine trends in outpatient use of mental health services among 53,622 children 6 to 17 years old. The study and abstract were published in the May 20 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.