Youth mental health advocates renew calls for action – JP
“I think most pediatricians now would say it’s in the 45 to 55 percent range depending on where they work. It has taken over our practices and it is telling us the children in America are not doing well,” she said.
Amy Wimpey Knight, president of Children’s Hospital Association, said a universal worry is how to expand the mental health workforce, an issue that Congress has also identified in hearings and draft legislation.
“A lot of the legislation that we’re supporting specifically focuses on making sure there’s enough workforce across the continuum,” she said. “I think the reimbursement rates are really challenging for people to train in this field and then stay in the field for a long period of time.”
Experts say that if Congress adds a mental health section to the expected end-of-year spending package, it will need to include language specifically targeting youth.
“There’s been a lot of fantastic mental health legislation this year, but by the time it gets to a state, the likelihood of it getting to a child is slim to none,” Knight said. “We really actually need some specific funding directed at this workforce, infrastructure, telehealth [and] screening.”