NCHS Data Brief: Mental Health Treatment Among Children Aged 5–17 Years: United States, 2021

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A circle image on the left shows a female therapist with a warm smile encouraging a young boy patient. She is dressed in a suit with a folder in her lap and the boy is looking up at her. Text to the right of the image states that in 2021, 14.9% of children ages 5–17 had received mental health treatment in the past 12 months.New NCHS report describes the percentage of children aged 5–17 years who have received mental health treatment in the past 12 months by selected characteristics, based on data from the 2021 National Health Interview Survey. Mental health treatment is defined as having taken medication for mental health, received counseling or therapy from a mental health professional, or both in the past 12 months.

FINDINGS: 

  • Children aged 12–17 years were more likely to have received any mental health treatment in the past 12 months (18.9%) compared with children aged 5–11 years (11.3%).
    • Any mental health treatment included taking prescription medication and receiving counseling or therapy from a mental health professional.
  • Boys were more likely than girls to have taken prescription medication for their mental health in the past 12 months (9.0% and 7.3%, respectively).
  • Non-Hispanic Asian children were least likely to have received any mental health treatment in the past 12 months compared with children in other race and Hispanic-origin groups.
  • As the level of urbanization decreased, the percentage of children who received any mental health treatment increased.
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Page last reviewed: June 12, 2023
Page last updated: June 12, 2023