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MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT

In 2002, 19.3 percent of youth 12 to 17 years of age received mental health treatment or counseling. Non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black youths were most likely to receive treatment, at 20.1 and 19.3 percent, respectively. Among Hispanic youth, 17.5 percent received treatment, followed by 13.4 percent of Asian youth. The most commonly reported reasons for seeking counseling were feeling depressed (49.5 percent), breaking rules or “acting out” (26.7 percent), suicidal thoughts or attempts (19.5 percent), and feeling very afraid or tense (19.5 percent).

Among youth receiving mental health treatment/counseling, 47.6 percent went to a private therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, or counselor. The second most common source of treatment was school counselors, school psychologists, or regular meetings with teachers, at 44.6 percent. Only 4.7 percent of youths received treatment through an overnight or longer stay in a residential treatment center. In some instances, source of treatment varied greatly by age group. For example, 40.8 percent of 12- to 13-year-olds who received treatment used private therapists, compared to 50.6 percent of 16- to 17-year-olds. The percentage of youth using school counselors or regular teacher meetings as a source of counseling drops from 48.5 percent among 12- to 13-year-olds to only 37.9 percent of 16- to 17-year-olds. A number of other options were also reported, and respondents could choose more than one source of treatment.

Graph: Reasons for Mental Health Treatment/Counseling[d]