Removing Barriers to Mental Health Care for Children and Teenagers

April 20, 2021

On this episode of Managed Care Cast, we speak with the chief strategy officer for Well Being Trust, one of the authors of a recent report about how well health insurers and state Medicaid programs are covering mental health care for children and compliance with federal law. We discuss the unique challenges that youth face, the health disparities, racism, and community trauma that has been experienced in the past year, and some creative ways that organizations and communities can consider increase access to mental health supports.

Even before the pandemic, children's mental health in the United States had been declining. Depressive symptoms and feeling of sadness and hopelessness were rising, and more of their caregivers were experiencing rising rates of substance abuse. With the pandemic, adolescents reported higher rates of depression, and with the economic fallout from COVID-19, the child poverty rate is forecast to rise by 53%.

Children and teenagers have unique needs, and have not benefitted from the many changes that have taken place to integrate mental health care into primary care for adults. Three organizations—the Well Being Trust, the California Children's Trust, and Mental Health America—recently released a report examining how well health insurers and state Medicaid programs are covering mental health care for children and compliance with federal law.

On this episode of Managed Care Cast, we speak with Dr. Benjamin F. Miller, PsyD., who is the chief strategy officer for Well Being Trust and one of the authors of the report. He discusses the unique challenges that youth face, the health disparities, racism, and community trauma that has been experienced in the past year, and some creative ways that organizations and communities can consider increase access to mental health supports.

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