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Most U.S. Adults Support More Mental Health Services for Kids

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By HealthDay News

A vast majority of U.S. adults believe children should receive more mental health support, new research reveals.

Nearly nine out of 10 adults favor more mental health treatment and prevention programs for children and teens in their communities, according to a poll commissioned by Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

"The survey confirms the public knows what the research shows and what we see in clinic -- the need for pediatric behavioral health services is significant," said Dr. David Axelson.

Behavioral health disorders in children can have a long-term, negative impact on their health and society, said Axelson, the hospital's chief of psychiatry and behavioral health.

"Many communities like ours are thinking about how to improve access to high-quality behavioral health services because it is the right thing to do," he said in a hospital news release.

In February and March, the researchers questioned 2,000 Americans, including 500 parents with children younger than 18.

More than one-third reported having a child or teen who would benefit from mental health support.

But 37 percent said financial concerns would prevent them from accessing these services, while 33 percent said insurance coverage is the main barrier to children's mental health support.

Axelson said his hospital's early childhood mental health program can help prevent preschool expulsion because of behavior issues. How? By consulting and training teachers and child caregivers to manage difficult or troubled kids.

For older children, effective suicide prevention programs are vitally important, he said.

"The goal of programs like these is to remove barriers and intervene before a family ever needs to come to a provider's office," said Axelson.

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