Mental Health Risk Factors, Unmet Needs and Provider Availability for Rural Children

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project completed:
June 2005
Accurate measures of childhood vulnerability to mental health problems can help guide public policy that allocates resources for mental health care to specific populations, including funding and human resources allocated to rural community mental health centers. This study will add to the current knowledge of unmet mental health need for rural children, using data from the 2001 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The 2001 NHIS included, in addition to questions concerning diagnosed mental health problems, administration of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). The SDQ detects subclinical mental health problems, including emotional problems, conduct problems, hyperactive behavior, peer relationship difficulties, and lack of prosocial behavior. This study will examine the prevalence of subclinical mental health problems in rural children, assess risk factors associated with problems in children, and assess the influence of local provider availability on healthcare provider contact.