Clip files / Local news from the states

This column features selected short items about state health care policy.

Report: Children don’t get enough mental health care

BOSTON—Children’s mental health services are in crisis, according to a report that found more than one-third of kids are forced to wait more than a year for treatment as often as they need it. "This survey documents how children in Massachusetts are falling through the cracks of mental health services,"’ said Rob Restuccia, executive director of Health Care for All, which helped conduct the survey of 300 families who have sought mental health care for their kids. The survey, funded by the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Foundation of Massachusetts, also found that nearly half of the children had showed signs of mental health problems by age 4; almost half of pediatricians rarely or never asked about children’s mental health needs; and about one-third of kids’ mental health crises occurred at school, where officials were often unprepared to deal with them. Nearly half of respondents said their child’s main mental health provider was not at all accessible or only somewhat accessible after regular office hours.

Boston Herald, Nov. 22, 2002