Unmet mental health care needs in U.S. children with medical complexity, 2005-2010

Ruopeng An

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Children with special healthcare needs (CSHCN) are those who have or are at elevated risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional condition and need healthcare services of a type or quantity beyond that required by children generally. Within CSHCN, a small group of children with medical complexity have medical vulnerability and intensive care needs that are not easily met by existing healthcare models. This study estimated the national prevalence of unmet mental healthcare needs among CSHCN with and without medical complexity. Methods: Secondary data analysis (N = 80,965) based on the National Survey of CSHCN 2005-2006 and 2009-2010 waves. Results: During 2005-2010, 7.66% of CSHCN in the U.S. were with medical complexity. The prevalence of unmet needs for mental healthcare services among CSHCN increased from 3.71% in 2005-2006 to 5.62% in 2009-2010. In 2005-2006 the prevalence of unmet mental healthcare needs among children with medical complexity was 9.92%, tripling the prevalence among CSHCN without medical complexity of 3.10%. The prevalence of unmet mental healthcare needs among children with medical complexity further increased to 13.71% in 2009-2010, whereas that among CSHCN without medical complexity increased to 5.07%. Among CSHCN with medical complexity, older children and children living in poorer households were more likely to have an unmet need for mental healthcare services. Conclusion: Substantial disparities in access to mental healthcare services between CSHCN with and without medical complexity were present, and the prevalence of unmet mental healthcare needs among both groups had noticeably increased during 2005-2010.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-3
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Volume82
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Keywords

  • Children with special healthcare needs
  • Medical complexity
  • Mental health care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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