February 16, 2016

Hoosier Kids Facing Mental Health Issues

stock photo

stock photo

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Youth Institute’s annual Kids Count Data Book is out and much of the information focuses on the health of Hoosier kids... including mental health. 

In Indiana, five percent of kids have been diagnosed with serious behavioral problems, four percent with anxiety and three percent with depression. All those rates are higher than the national average.

Forty percent of mental health problems are first diagnosed in adolescence, and Indiana Youth Institute’s Interim President and CEO Glen Augustine says access to psychiatric care is a major problem for many young Hoosiers.

"If you look at children ages 12-17, one in ten of them are having at least one depressive episode a year but only a third of them are getting the help they need," Augustine said. 

Indiana averages one mental health provider for every 750 people. And in some counties, the ratio is one for every 14,000 residents.

Board Chair for Mental Health America of Indiana Steve Viehweg says there’s a push to identify problems as early as possible through local doctors, clinics or other providers.

"Which I think will help them improve that issue of workforce. Where are the resources for families to get help? Where the kids are," Viehweg said. 

The state does provide mental health services for low-income Hoosiers. In 2014, The Division of Mental Health and Addictions provided care for over 50,000 children. 

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