Access to Adolescent Mental Health Care
Did You Know?
Less than half of adolescents with psychiatric disorders received any kind of treatment in the past year. 1 A social stigma continues to surround mental health disorders, and mental health care is frequently difficult to access. In 2013, 10 percent of adolescents lacked insurance and, 2 when they are covered, the amount of mental health services they can receive is often limited. 3 Initially identifying a mental health disorder is also challenging—issues are often first identified at school. Researchers have documented a number of disparities in access. Among adolescents, those that are homeless; served by state child welfare and juvenile justice systems; and are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender are often the least likely to receive services. 4-6
Check out these resources for adolescent mental health services:
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides the Mental Health Services Locator, an online, map-based program visitors can use to find facilities in their vicinity. Local organizations may be particularly helpful for addressing the mental health needs of adolescents in a specific community.
- Adolescents (or anyone) in suicidal crisis or emotional distress can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. Calls made to this 24-hour hotline are routed to the caller’s nearest crisis center.
- YouMatter is a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline site for young adults, complete with a blog where visitors can share problems and receive support.
Learn more about adolescent access to mental health services:
- Check out OAH’s library of federal adolescent health resources on mental health.
- Now is the Time: The President’s Plan to Protect Our Children and Our Communities by Reducing Gun Violence. Of the four steps proposed in the President’s plan, one is increasing access to mental health services and making sure adolescents and young adults receive treatment for mental health issues.
- SAMHSA supports the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, which helps organizations and individuals develop suicide prevention programs, interventions, and policies.
- SAMHSA also maintains an online library of free publications and resources, with over 200 products focused on adolescent behavioral health issues, and a resource list for the prevention of substance abuse and mental illness.
Content last reviewed on October 28, 2016