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Mental Health Benefits Under SCHIP

1/17/2001:   While juvenile crime rates have caused much concern over the past decade, child victimization and youth suicide rates have not gained the same attention from the media or public. Child abuse and neglect reports, however, remain near record levels and the greatest rates of increase in suicides are those committed by our children and youth. The mental health of these children and youth should be of paramount importance to us as a society.

An estimated two-thirds of all young people with mental health problems are not getting the help they need. (Center for Mental Health Services)

A new Health Affairs report, "Mental Health Benefits Under SCHIP," (http://www.healthaffairs.org/) outlines the cost-effectiveness for states to provide comprehensive mental health services under SCHIP (the State Children's Health Insurance Program) that parallel the services under

Among those young people with mental health problems, many are low-income children and adolescents who do not receive any mental health services at all according to the Surgeon Generalís report on mental health.

SCHIP was enacted in 1997. It represents an opportunity to furnish the mental health services needed by these children. SCHIP exists to give health care coverage to the children of families whose income is too high to qualify for Medicaid, but too low to afford private insurance. Compared with the U.S. population as a whole, children involved with the child welfare system are more likely to be poor and therefore more likely to be eligible for Medicaid and SCHIP.

CWLA is working to promote SCHIP outreach and enrollment in the child welfare and mental health populations. Child welfare and health care professionals, as well as families, are encouraged to help in this effort within their own communities.

To learn about how SCHIP affects children's mental health benefits in your state, visit the National Mental Health Association's Web site at:

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