Financing Mental Health Services for Adolescents: A Background Paper

Cynthia Kapphahn, Madlyn Morreale, Vaughn I. Rickert, Leslie Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Good mental health provides an essential foundation for normal growth and development through adolescence and into adulthood. Many adolescents, however, experience mental health problems that significantly impede the attainment of their full potential. The majority of these adolescents do not receive needed mental health services, in part because of financial obstacles to care. This article reviews the magnitude and impact of mental health problems during adolescence and highlights the importance of insurance coverage in assuring access to mental health services for adolescents. Significant limitations in private health insurance coverage of mental health services are outlined. Recent federal and state efforts to move toward parity in private insurance coverage between mental and physical health services are discussed, including an explanation of the role of Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in providing access to mental health services for adolescents. Finally, other elements that would facilitate financial access to essential mental health services for adolescents are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-327
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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