Five million children aged 5-17 treated for mental illness each year



An average of 9.3% of children aged 5-17 years received some type of treatment for a mental health disorder each year from 2009 to 2011, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported.

That 9.3% translates into about 5 million U.S. children receiving some form of treatment for a mental health disorder annually. The largest share, 7.0%, was children who received ambulatory care, while 2.1% received prescription medications and 0.2% of all children aged 5-17 years received other services that included hospital stays, emergency department visits, and home health care, according to the AHRQ.

Spending for medical services, however, was divided a little more equally, as the 0.2% of children categorized as “other” accounted for 21.1% of the average medical expenditure of $10.9 billion annually over the study period. Prescription medications represented 44% of all spending for children aged 5-17 and 34.9% went to ambulatory care, data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey show.

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