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SAMHSA’s Award-Winning Newsletter
March/April 2009, Volume 17, Number 2 

Youth & Mental Health: Recent Data on Service Settings

One in eight adolescents age 12 to 17 received treatment or counseling in a specialty mental health setting for problems with behavior or emotions in the past year.

According to a recent report from SAMHSA’s 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), Adolescent Mental Health: Service Settings and Reasons for Receiving Care, there are three major types of settings where adolescents generally receive mental health services.

Those settings include:

  • Specialty mental health settings with either inpatient or outpatient services
  • Educational settings offering help from school counselors, school psychologists, or special education teachers
  • General medical settings with services provided by a pediatrician or a family practice provider.
Photo of a smiling teenage boy


Suicidal Thoughts. Of young people who received specialty inpatient care, thinking about or attempting suicide and feeling depressed were reported equally often as the reason for receiving care (44.9 percent and 44.8 percent, respectively).

Depression. Of those adolescents who received outpatient specialty mental health services, feeling depressed was the most common cause for receiving care (50.4 percent).

Problems at Home. The second most frequently cited reason for receiving care in an outpatient specialty setting was problems at home or with the family (29.0 percent).

According to the report, educators and health care providers may be among the first to be contacted about mental health issues among adolescents. Making sure these professionals can recognize mental health problems and refer adolescents appropriately is a mental health priority.

Read or download the report, Adolescent Mental Health Service Settings and Reasons for Receiving Care.

Data at a Glance

  • In the past year, one in eight (12.5 percent) adolescents (i.e., youth age 12 to 17) received treatment or counseling in a specialty mental health setting for problems with behavior or emotions, 11.5 percent received services in an educational setting, and 2.8 percent received services in a general medical setting.
  • One in 20 (5.1 percent) adolescents received services in both a specialty mental health setting and an educational or general medical setting in the past year.
  • Feeling depressed was the most common reason for receiving mental health services in a specialty mental health setting (50.0 percent), a general medical setting (44.3 percent), or an educational setting (38.0 percent).

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Funding Opportunities

Requests for applications include a variety of new grants including Project Launch.

Awards for Suicide Prevention

Awards for Suicide Prevention

Symbolic “big checks” were presented to six organizations.

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Underage Drinking: Related Articles

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April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Find out what you can do to help prevent and reduce drinking by teens and college students.

  Building Awareness  
Inhalants Often “First”

Inhalants Often “First”

News of recent deaths from sniffing refrigerants.

Are Prevention Messages Working?

Are Prevention Messages Working?

We’ve heard the commercials urging parents to talk. Are teens getting the message?

American Indians, Alaska Natives

American Indians, Alaska Natives

“Culture Card” offers information on tribal sovereignty, myths & facts, and more.

  Mental Health  

Economy: Help in Tough Times

You can’t see stress, but you certainly can feel it. A new SAMHSA Web site offers resources, referrals, and more.

States, IT, and Mental Health Services

States, IT, and Mental Health Services

A recent report gives a state-by-state update on information technology’s effect.

Lifeline on Twitter

Lifeline on Twitter

“Tweets” from the Nat’l Suicide Prevention Lifeline help awareness.

  Treatment Roundup  

Admissions, Facilities, & More

Recent data from two SAMHSA surveys – National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS) and Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) – provide updated information.

DVD Kit on Homelessness

DVD Kit on Homelessness

Programs in Seattle and Philadelphia are two success stories highlighted in this DVD.

Recovery Month

Recovery Month

Send your press releases, studies, and news on recovery for posting on the site.

  Staff in the News  
Kana Enomoto Honored

Kana Enomoto Honored

Deputy Administrator receives the inaugural King Davis Award for Emerging Leadership.

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