Survey: 4 in 5 Americans want increase in pediatric mental health support

Eighty-seven percent of Americans agree children and adolescents need more available mental health support services, including increased treatment, therapy and prevention resources, according to research conducted by The Harris Poll.

Out of 2,000 poll respondents, 500 were parents with children under age 18. One-third of these parents (37 percent) said they have a child or adolescent in their life who they feel requires mental health support.

"The survey confirms the public knows what the research shows and what we see in clinic — the need for pediatric behavioral health services is significant," said David Axelson, MD, chief of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health and medical director of Big Lots Behavioral Health Services at Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide Children's Hospital.

When asked about the primary barriers to accessing to pediatric mental health services, families identified expense (37 percent) and insurance coverage (33 percent).

Nationwide Children's Behavioral Health is working to combat these issues through prevention efforts, including consultation and training for preschool and homecare providers to prevent children who are at risk of being expelled from preschool due to behavior issues. 

 "The goal of programs like these is to remove barriers and intervene before a family ever needs to come to a provider's office," said Dr. Axelson. "There has been growing awareness of the importance of behavioral health disorders in children, which have the potential for long-term, negative impact on their health and society."

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