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Mental health diagnoses and treatment for region’s children

Sep 11, 2018

DATA SUMMARYDATA TABLES

Many factors affect a child’s mental health including age, income and a parent’s overall mental health.

The 2017 Child Well Being Survey (CWBS) asked parents and guardians of youth in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky to describe the overall mental health of their child. CWBS also asked about that child’s history of mental health treatment and counseling.

While most parent report kids with positive mental health, many still struggle

In Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, 8 in 10 parents describe their child’s mental health as excellent (54%) or very good (26%). Fifteen percent of parents describe their child’s mental health as good and 5% of parents report their child’s mental health as either fair or poor. This translates into approximately 28,000 youth with reported fair or poor mental health in our region. According to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, inpatient hospitalizations for pediatric mental health have increased by 8% and outpatient mental health visits have increased by 13% over the past three years (2015-2018).

Mental health ratings varied by reported physical health. Among children with excellent or very good physical health, nearly 9 in 10 also
had excellent or very good mental health (87%). Among youth whose parents rated their physical health fair or poor, only 4 in 10 had excellent or very good mental health (40%).

Child mental health varies by income, age

The percentage of parents who reported a child with excellent or very good mental health varied by the age of the child. Parents with children ages 0 to 5 years reported that 9 in 10 had excellent or very good mental health (92%). This percentage decreases slightly as children grow older. For children ages 6 to 12, 8 in 10 parents reported that their children have excellent or very good mental health (77%). For children ages 13 to 17, that percentage falls to 7 in 10 (73%).

Responses to this question varied slightly by family income. In families earning more than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG)1, more than 8 in 10 parents rated their child’s mental health as excellent (57%) or very good (26%). In families earning between 100-200% of FPG, fewer than 8 in 10 parents describe their child’s mental health as excellent (51%) or very good (26%), and in families earning below 100% FPG, only 7 in 10 describe their child’s mental health as excellent (44%) or very good (26%).

1 in 10 children have received mental health treatment 

According to parents and guardians, about 1 in 10 children in the region have received treatment or counseling from a mental health professional in the past year (13%). These responses varied by age. According to parents, 2 in 10 children ages 13 to 17 have received treatment or counseling
(20%), compared with 1 in 10 children ages 6 to 12 (13%) and only 3% of children ages 0 to 5.

Child mental health influenced by parent health 

The mental health of our youth is affected by their environment. The self-reported mental health of the parent or guardian affects a child’s mental health. Among parentswith excellent or very good mental health, 9 in 10 rated their child’s mental health as excellent or very good (91%), and 2% rated their child’s mental health as fair or poor.

Among parents with fair or poor mental health, 5 in 10 rated their child’s mental health as excellent or very good (54%), and 2 in 10 rated their child’s mental health as fair or poor (19%).

Additionally, the physical health of parents or guardians affects a child’s reported mental health. Among parents who reported excellent or very good physical health, 9 in 10 children had excellent or good mental health (91%). Among parents who reported fair or poor physical health, only 6 in 10 children had excellent or very good mental health (60%).

Why do we ask these questions?

Mental health is equally as important as physical health, but often gets overlooked. By asking parents to evaluate the mental health of their children, we can better understand the mental health needs among youth in our community. This can also help us better understand which groups of young people might need increased support in order to maintain positive mental health.


1 In 2016, 100% FPG was $24,250 for a family of four; 200% FPG was $48,500 for a family of four.

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