Wednesday, June 15, 2011

African-American Teens More Apt to Use School-Based Services

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School-based mental health services are valuable because they place the point of care where the children are. Now a new study of 796 middle school students in a small city in Louisiana finds that African-American students are more likely than their white classmates to make use of those school-based systems.

Researchers from the TeenScreen program at Columbia University in New York and York University in Toronto said that 45 percent of African-American students were identified by screening tests as being at risk, compared to 33 percent of white students. The study was published online in the Community Mental Health Journal.

When referred to services, both racial groups used community serves at equal rates. However, the African-American students were more likely (93 percent) to use school-based services than whites (76 percent).

Many mental disorders make their first appearance by age 14, and early screening and access to treatment may help minimize their severity. For more about the availability of mental health care for children and adolescents, see Psychiatric News at


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