A recent review has found that children’s mental health care quality varies greatly in the USA.

Children's Mental Health Care Quality Varies Greatly In the USAThe review was published online in Pediatrics.  Researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia reviewed electronic health records from 43 primary care practices in the US that served children between the ages of 4 to 18 years.  The focused on variances in diagnosis and psychtropic medication prescriptions.

They found that 15 percent of 294,748 children received a diagnosis and 14 percent received a prescription for psychotropic medication.  The disorder that was most commonly diagnosed was ADHD. There was a variation between the proportion of children receiving any medication and the proportion receiving two or more medications.  There were also variances in the medication classes, such as stimulants, antidepressants, and antipsychotics.

“The prevalence of mental health diagnosis and psychotropic medication prescribing varies substantially across practices and is only partially explained by psychiatrist availability,” the authors write. “Research is needed to better define the causes of variable practice-level diagnosis and prescribing and implications for child mental health outcomes.”

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