Mental Health Settings: New Data
Do young people get mental health services at school more often than they do at specialty treatment centers?
A recent SAMHSA report shows that close to the same number of youth age 12 to 17 receive mental health services at school as at specialty mental health treatment centers.
The report, Mental Health Service Use among Youths Aged 12 to 17: 2005 and 2006, includes data gathered from youth about mental health treatment or counseling received in the past 12 months for emotional or behavioral problems not caused by alcohol or drugs.
An estimated 3 million youth (12.0 percent) received mental health services in a school-based setting during 2005 and 2006. A school counselor, school psychologist, or teacher provided help to 9.9 percent, and 3.9 percent received special educational services.
This number is compared to the annual average of 3.3 million youth (13.3 percent) age 12 to 17 who received specialty mental health services for emotional or behavioral problems in the past year, according to combined 2005 and 2006 data.
In the survey, specialty mental health facilities were divided into several categories.
Outpatient settings include:
- Private therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, or counselors
- Mental health clinics
- Partial day hospitals or day treatment programs
- In-home therapists, counselors, or family preservation workers.
Inpatient or residential settings, comprising an overnight or longer stay, include:
- Residential treatment centers
- Foster care homes
- Therapeutic foster care homes.
Of the 13.3 percent of youth who received mental health services in these categories, 11.9 percent received outpatient mental health services, and 9.9 percent used outpatient services provided by private therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, or counselors.
An estimated 2.7 percent of people in this age group received inpatient mental health services, and the most commonly used inpatient service was an overnight or longer stay in a hospital (2.1 percent).
In addition to the school-based and the specialty mental health services settings, a pediatrician or other family doctor could treat youth for mental health problems. An estimated 752,000 (3.0 percent) of youth received services for emotional or behavioral problems from a pediatrician or family doctor.
The percentages of youth age 12 to 17 receiving services for emotional or behavioral problems in the past year in the specialty mental health and education settings varied by age. Youth age 14 or 15 were more likely to receive specialty mental health services than were youth age 12 or 13 (14.0 vs. 12.5 percent).
Services in an education setting were more common among 12- or 13-year-olds (12.8 percent) and 14- or 15-year-olds (12.5 percent) than among 16- or 17-year-olds (10.8 percent).
The percentage of youths who received services for emotional or behavioral problems in a general medical setting did not vary by age.
To read the full report based on SAMHSA’s 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), visit SAMHSA’s Office of Applied Studies Web site at