Child Health USA 2006
Photographs of children's faces

Health Status > Adolescents


In 2004, 22.5 percent of youth aged 12 to 17 years 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 rate in 2004 represented an increase over the previous year’s rate of 20.6 percent. Overall, there was little difference by age group or race and ethnicity; however, females were more likely than males to receive treatment (25.0 versus 20.1 percent). The treatment rate among males declined with age, while the rate among females increased with age. Youth with lower family incomes were more likely to receive treatment that those with higher family incomes.

Among youth who received mental health treatment or counseling, 33.6 percent used illicit drugs in the past year. Illicit drug use among those receiving treatment was most common among 12- to 13-year-olds (38.5 percent), and least common among 16- to 17-year-olds (31.4 percent). Females receiving mental health treatment were far more likely than males to report past year illicit drug use (41.6 versus 25.6 percent).

Depression was the leading reason reported for mental health treatment among 12- to 17-year-olds. Other common reasons for treatment included breaking rules or “acting out” (27.5 percent), feeling very afraid or tense (20.9 percent), and suicidal thoughts or attempts (18.5 percent). Survey respondents were able to report more than one reason for seeking treatment.

The most common source of mental health treatment among those youth receiving treatment was a school counselor or psychologist, or regular teacher meetings (46.7 percent). Also common was a private source, such as a therapist or psychologist (45.0 percent). Use of a partial day hospital or treatment program was reported by 7.8 percent of youth receiving treatment, and an overnight or longer stay in a residential treatment center was reported by 5.3 percent. Youth receiving treatment could indicate any number of 10 possible sources of care.


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Child Health USA 2006 is not copyrighted. Readers are free to duplicate and use all or part of the information contained on this page. Suggested Citation: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Child Health USA 2006. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006.