With the opening of a mental health center for children at Arizona State University’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation, I started wondering whether there is a new trend in children’s mental health care. I hadn’t heard about specific children mental health care centers, but apparently they are more common now.
The Southwest Health Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child-Adolescent Depression and Anxiety Disorders “specializes in the treatment and prevention of child and adolescent mental health disorders,” according to an ASU news release.
Dean Bernadette Melnyk said in the release that five of 15 counties in Arizona don’t have child psychiatrists that primary care providers can direct their patients to.
Mental health care seems to be a problem for a lot of children, not just those in Arizona. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality released a brief on this topic, stating that “low-income and minority children with special health care needs (CSHCN) have higher rates of mental health problems yet are less likely than their counterparts to receive mental health services.” This brief also reports that children with special health care needs make up 13.9 percent of all U.S. children and that 22 percent of American households with children have one child or more who has a special health care need.
Just Googling “mental health care centers for children” brings up a surprising amount of results, so it seems that there is more help for children now than before. There are a lot of universities with programs for mental health care for children, including the Research and Training Center for Children’s Mental Health at the University of South Florida. Portland State University also has one, and I’m sure most universities with a psychology program have developmental psychology and/or children mental health care as an option of study. Though there are many academic programs, that doesn’t necessarily mean there are enough actual centers and child psychologists, but it’s a great start.
In Iowa there are two new mental health care programs for children, including the Wrap Around Program and the Columbia Teen Screen.