MONDAY, May 2, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Use of school mental health (SM) services increased among adolescents in 2019 compared to previous years, according to a research letter published online May 2 in JAMA Pediatrics.
Adam S. Wilk, Ph.D., of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues assessed whether use of school-based MS services increased among American adolescents (aged 12 to 17 years old) in 2019. The analysis included data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2009 to 2019; 165,686 adolescents).
Researchers found that unadjusted use of all school MS services increased from 13.8% in 2018 to 15.7% in 2019 (relative increase, 13.6%). In schools, the use of MH services only increased from 7.5% in 2018 to 8.9% in 2019 (relative increase, 18.1%). The odds of receiving MH services at school were higher in 2019 than each year from 2009 to 2018 (2019 vs. 2018: odds ratio [OR], 1.13) in an adjusted analysis, with similar results in schools only (2019 versus 2018: OR, 1.17). The 2019 increase was largest among black teens (2019 vs. 2018: OR, 1.28) and teens with household income below 100% of the federal poverty level (2019 vs. 2018 : OR, 1.32).
“Evidence is needed on the mechanisms that link policies, school-based MH systems, and access to services,” the authors write. “Evidence such as this will guide leaders in extending the 2019 gains in access to SM care for young people in the post-pandemic United States”
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