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High-risk young people are not receiving critical behavioral health services

BY SARAH COLLINS 
HealthDay Reporter

More than half of high-risk children in the United States are not receiving behavioral health services critical to their mental, emotional and physical well-being, according to an article published March 29, 2021, by US News and World Report.

“It’s a pretty simple and kind of widely agreed upon finding that there are a lot of at-risk kids, when you look at it in terms of adversities or symptoms, who aren’t getting mental health services, behavioral health services, that would be of benefit to them,” said study co-author David Finkelhor, who directs the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center.

Lack of treatment for kids who struggle with depression, anxiety and/or several adverse childhood experiences is more severe among children of parents with only high school-level educations and children of color, with Black kids found to be the least likely to have access to behavioral health services.

“The implication is, we should really be doing a lot more to try and facilitate services for this segment of the population,” Finkelhor said.

A noteworthy outlier in the study: High-risk children with nontraditional family structures were far more likely than their counterparts to have received mental health services.