Child and Youth Emergency Mental Health Care

A National Problem

By National Center for Children in Poverty

July 27, 2007


What happens when kids visit hospital emergency rooms for behavioral health concerns? Spoiler alert: The results aren’t pretty. This report spells out exactly how America’s emergency departments are failing young behavioral health patients — and outlines a 10-part, policy-driven prescription for change.  

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

Emergency departments have become substitute sources for routine behavioral health care

The number of pediatric behavioral health visits that emergency rooms are fielding at the time of this report has jumped 34% — from 565,000 to 756,000 — in just 6 years, according to the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Survey. Despite this increase, emergency departments across America aren’t properly equipped or staffed to care for kids and teens with behavioral health needs.

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations