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More Than 380,000 Children Diagnosed with Multiple Mental Health Problems

According to the first study to provide reliable, national estimates of young children’s use of mental health services, almost one-third of the 1.3 million children in the U.S. mental health system (388,635) have been diagnosed with two or more psychiatric disorders, a condition that makes them significantly more difficult and expensive to treat. The older the children, the more likely they were to have co-occurring disorders and the broader their range of problems, the study found. Complete details can be found in the Winter 2004 Issue Brief (Vol. 3, No. 1).

These results are the fourth to be released by the three-year, public-private collaboration whose goal is to provide policymakers with a timely, nonpartisan assessment of equity in children’s mental health care.

Collaborators include Kathleen J. Pottick, principal investigator, and Lynn A. Warner, co-investigator, both at the Institute and School of Social Work; Ronald W. Manderscheid and Laura Milazzo-Sayre from the HHS Center for Mental Health Services; and Patrick T. McCarthy and the KIDS COUNT initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Prior editions of Issue Brief Summer 2002 (Vol. 1, No. 1), Fall 2002 (Vol. 1, No. 2) and Summer 2003 (Vol. 2, No. 1) can be found here.

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