A Team Approach for Improving Access to Mental Health Care for Latino Children


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One in five children ages 3 to 17 have a mental health condition. While most kids do not receive care for mental health conditions,  it is even less likely for a Latino child to see a mental health provider.

Latino children made 58% fewer visits to any mental health provider compared to white children. Latino kids were also less likely than white or black children to see a doctor. In 2013-2014, only 11.6% of Latino kids under age 18 went to a doctor’s office or clinic compared to 7.4% of white and 8.6% of black kids.

A lack of mental health care can impact a child in many aspects of life. Kids with untreated mental health conditions are at a higher risk of suspension from school, dropping out, and even have a higher risk of being put in jail.

One way to bridge the gap is to improve access to care by teaming up pediatricians with mental health providers in the same clinic. This creates a patient-centered medical home where patients are able to receive all of their care in one clinic. Pediatricians are “essential first-line responders” for mental health screening and treatment. This approach to doctors and mental health providers sharing space protects a patient’s privacy, increases trust, and allows for better follow through on referrals.

If you’re a parent or community leader interested in finding access to care, click here for a list of patient-centered medical homes nearby. If you’re a provider, here are a few ways to get involved.

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