Examining National Trends in the Care of Different Mental Health Problems & in Different Treatment Settings among Adolescents

National Trends in Mental Health Care for US Adolescents.

Background

The prevalence of adolescent depression and other internalising mental health problems has increased in recent years, whereas the prevalence of externalising behaviours has decreased. The association of these changes with the use of mental health services has not been previously examined.

Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine national trends in the care of different mental health problems and in different treatment settings among adolescents.

Methods

Data for this survey study were drawn from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual cross-sectional survey of the US general population. This study focused on adolescent participants aged 12 to 17 years interviewed from January 1, 2005, to December 31, 2018. Data were reported as weighted percentages and adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and analysed from July 20 to December 1, 2019.

Time trends in 12-month prevalence of any mental health treatment or counselling in a wide range of settings were examined overall and for different:

  • Sociodemographic groups;
  • Types of mental health problems (internalising, externalising, relationship, and school related); and
  • Treatment settings (inpatient mental health, outpatient mental health, general medical, and school counselling).

Trends in the number of visits and nights in inpatient settings were also examined.

Results

A total of 47,090 of the 230,070 adolescents across survey years (19.7%) received mental health care. Of these, 57.5% were female; 31.3%, aged 12 to 13 years; 35.8%, aged 14 to 15 years; and 32.9%, aged 16 to 17 years.

The overall prevalence of mental health care did not change appreciably over time. However, mental health care increased among girls (from 22.8% in 2005-2006 to 25.4% in 2017-2018; aOR, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.04-1.19; P = .001), non-Hispanic white adolescents (from 20.4% in 2005-2006 to 22.7% in 2017-2018; aOR, 1.08; 95% CI, 1.03-1.14; P = .004), and those with private insurance (from 19.4% in 2005-2006 to 21.2% in 2017-2018; aOR, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.04-1.18; P = .002).

Internalising problems, including suicidal ideation and depressive symptoms, accounted for an increasing proportion of care (from 48.3% in 2005-2006 to 57.8% in 2017-2018; aOR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.39-1.66; P < .001), whereas externalising problems (from 31.9% in 2005-2006 to 23.7% in 2017-2018; aOR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.62-0.73; P < .001) and relationship problems (from 30.4% in 2005-2006 to 26.9% in 2017-2018; aOR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.69-0.82; P < .001) accounted for decreasing proportions.

During this period, use of outpatient mental health services increased from 58.1% in 2005-2006 to 67.3% in 2017-2018 (aOR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.35-1.59; P < .001), although use of school counselling decreased from 49.1% in 2005-2006 to 45.4% in 2017-2018 (aOR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.79-0.93; P < .001).

Outpatient mental health visits (eg, private mental health clinicians, from 7.2 in 2005-2006 to 9.0 in 2017-2018; incidence rate ratio, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.23-1.37; P < .001) and overnight stays in inpatient mental health settings (from 4.0 nights in 2005-2006 to 5.4 nights in 2017-2018; incidence rate ratio, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.02-1.37; P = .03) increased.

Conclusions

This study’s findings suggest that the growing number of adolescents who receive care for internalising mental health problems and the increasing share who receive care in specialty outpatient settings are placing new demands on specialty adolescent mental health treatment resources.

Reference

Mojtabai, R. & Olfson, M. (2020) National Trends in Mental Health Care for US Adolescents. JAMA Psychiatry. 77(7), pp.1-12. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.0279. Online ahead of print.

Research Paper Title

National Trends in Mental Health Care for US Adolescents.

Background

The prevalence of adolescent depression and other internalising mental health problems has increased in recent years, whereas the prevalence of externalising behaviours has decreased. The association of these changes with the use of mental health services has not been previously examined.

Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine national trends in the care of different mental health problems and in different treatment settings among adolescents.

Methods

Data for this survey study were drawn from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual cross-sectional survey of the US general population. This study focused on adolescent participants aged 12 to 17 years interviewed from January 1, 2005, to December 31, 2018. Data were reported as weighted percentages and adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and analysed from July 20 to December 1, 2019.

Time trends in 12-month prevalence of any mental health treatment or counselling in a wide range of settings were examined overall and for different:

  • Sociodemographic groups;
  • Types of mental health problems (internalising, externalising, relationship, and school related); and
  • Treatment settings (inpatient mental health, outpatient mental health, general medical, and school counselling).

Trends in the number of visits and nights in inpatient settings were also examined.

Results

A total of 47,090 of the 230,070 adolescents across survey years (19.7%) received mental health care. Of these, 57.5% were female; 31.3%, aged 12 to 13 years; 35.8%, aged 14 to 15 years; and 32.9%, aged 16 to 17 years.

The overall prevalence of mental health care did not change appreciably over time. However, mental health care increased among girls (from 22.8% in 2005-2006 to 25.4% in 2017-2018; aOR, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.04-1.19; P = .001), non-Hispanic white adolescents (from 20.4% in 2005-2006 to 22.7% in 2017-2018; aOR, 1.08; 95% CI, 1.03-1.14; P = .004), and those with private insurance (from 19.4% in 2005-2006 to 21.2% in 2017-2018; aOR, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.04-1.18; P = .002).

Internalising problems, including suicidal ideation and depressive symptoms, accounted for an increasing proportion of care (from 48.3% in 2005-2006 to 57.8% in 2017-2018; aOR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.39-1.66; P < .001), whereas externalising problems (from 31.9% in 2005-2006 to 23.7% in 2017-2018; aOR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.62-0.73; P < .001) and relationship problems (from 30.4% in 2005-2006 to 26.9% in 2017-2018; aOR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.69-0.82; P < .001) accounted for decreasing proportions.

During this period, use of outpatient mental health services increased from 58.1% in 2005-2006 to 67.3% in 2017-2018 (aOR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.35-1.59; P < .001), although use of school counselling decreased from 49.1% in 2005-2006 to 45.4% in 2017-2018 (aOR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.79-0.93; P < .001).

Outpatient mental health visits (eg, private mental health clinicians, from 7.2 in 2005-2006 to 9.0 in 2017-2018; incidence rate ratio, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.23-1.37; P < .001) and overnight stays in inpatient mental health settings (from 4.0 nights in 2005-2006 to 5.4 nights in 2017-2018; incidence rate ratio, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.02-1.37; P = .03) increased.

Conclusions

This study’s findings suggest that the growing number of adolescents who receive care for internalising mental health problems and the increasing share who receive care in specialty outpatient settings are placing new demands on specialty adolescent mental health treatment resources.

Reference

Mojtabai, R. & Olfson, M. (2020) National Trends in Mental Health Care for US Adolescents. JAMA Psychiatry. 77(7), pp.1-12. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.0279. Online ahead of print.

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