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New survey finds disparities in access to healthcare for children, teens across the U.S.

Healthcare for children teens across the US

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. –A recent study by the National Voices Project, a W.K. Kellogg Foundation supported initiative at the University of Michigan revealed that children and teens, particularly those of racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, lack access to mental healthcare.

“These findings indicate low availability of mental health care for children and teens in the majority of communities across the U.S.,” said Matthew M. Davis, director of the National Voices Project. “Even in communities where there are lots of opportunities for children and teens to get primary care or hospital care, access to mental health care is lacking.” In communities where respondents perceived racial/ethnic inequities, they consistently reported less access to healthcare services, including mental health, especially for teens. The full survey shows that where there are perceived inequities at the community level, there are perceptions of diminished opportunities for young children and teens in the domains of nutrition, health, and healthcare.

Officials at the National Voices Project based their study on perceptions held by adults who work and volunteer on behalf of children. Survey participants were asked about the availability of healthcare services in their communities for children and teens. More than half of all respondents stated that teens have “lots of availability” for hospital care (55 percent) and primary care (56 percent) in their communities, but across all healthcare services, only 30 percent of respondents reported “lots of availability” for mental health care. The results for younger children were similar. 

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation supports The National Voices Project through the America Healing initiative to identify concerns about children’s health, education, and economic security at the community level across the nation.

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