Mental Health Treatment

In 2005, 21.8 percent of youth aged 12–17 years, or 5.5 million youth, received mental health treatment or counseling in the past year, which includes treatment or counseling for emotional or behavioral problems not caused by drug or alcohol use. The proportion of youth receiving treatment in 2005 represents a 3.1 percent decrease from 2004. Overall, there was little difference by age group or race and ethnicity; however, females were more likely than males to receive treatment (24.1 versus 19.6 percent). Males and females aged 14–15 were more likely to receive treatment than youth of other ages.

Youth with lower family incomes were more likely to receive treatment than those with higher family incomes. For instance, nearly 25 percent of youth with family incomes of less than $20,000 received mental health treatment, compared to 19.9 percent of those with family incomes of $75,000 or more.

Among youth who received mental health treatment or counseling in 2005, 28.9 percent also used illicit drugs in the past year. Illicit drug use among those receiving treatment increased with age. Just over 16 percent of 12- to 13-yearolds receiving treatment used illicit drugs in the past year, compared to 25.4 percent of those aged 14–15 and 46.2 percent of 16- to 17-year-olds. Females receiving mental health treatment were more likely than males to report illicit drug use in the past year (31.4 versus 25.8 percent; data not shown).

Depression was the leading reason reported for mental health treatment among 12- to 17-year-olds (44.2 percent). Other common reasons for treatment included breaking rules or “acting out” (24.8 percent), problems at home or with family members (23.5 percent), and problems at school (22.6 percent). (Survey respondents were able to report more than one reason for seeking treatment.)

The most common source of mental health treatment among youth receiving treatment was at school with a counselor, psychologist, or in regular meetings with a teacher (47.3 percent). The second most common source reported was with a therapist or psychologist (46.9 percent). Use of a partial day hospital or treatment program was reported by 7.9 percent of youth receiving treatment, and an overnight or longer stay in a residential treatment center was reported by 9.5 percent (data not shown). (Youth receiving treatment could indicate any number of 10 possible sources of care.)

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