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HomeMedicineNational Analysis Reveals Growing Adolescent Behavioral Health Crisis and Ripple Effects

National Analysis Reveals Growing Adolescent Behavioral Health Crisis and Ripple Effects

NEW YORK, April 16, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The toll of the adolescent behavioral health crisis in the United States is vast and growing; varies in prevalence by location, race, sex, and sexual orientation; and has ripple effects on lifetime medical costs, productivity, and wages, according to a national analysis released by United Hospital Fund.

Using data from multiple nationally administered surveys, as well as analytic modeling and expertise from Boston Consulting Group, The Ripple Effects of the Adolescent Behavioral Health Crisis provides a baseline analysis of the number of adolescents in the U.S., New York State, and New York City who have a behavioral health condition and calculates the burden of unmet need and resulting impacts on the individual, family, and society.

Findings include:

In the US:

  • 39% of adolescents who experienced a major depressive episode (MDE) in 2021 received care, compared to 56% of adults who received care for an MDE.
  • Based on the 2022 prevalence of adolescent behavioral health conditions and symptoms, the ripple effects of the adolescent behavioral health crisis are estimated at up to $185 billion in lifetime medical costs and $3 trillion in lifetime lost productivity and wages.


  • An estimated 1 in 4 adolescents experienced a behavioral health condition in 2022.
  • Black and Hispanic high schoolers were nearly twice as likely to attempt suicide compared to white high schoolers from 2019 to 2021.


  • From 2011 to 2021, there was a 42% increase in the rates of adolescents who reported experiencing feelings of persistent sadness and hopelessness.
  • When compared with heterosexual students, students identifying as lesbian, gay, or bisexual were over 4x more likely to attempt suicide in 2021.

“Over the past decade, the number of adolescents suffering from behavioral health conditions has increased, and the toll is especially profound for communities of color,” said Oxiris Barbot, MD, United Hospital Fund president and CEO. “Solutions won’t be easy or quick, but this report sheds light on potential ways to make a disjointed and under-resourced child behavioral health system more responsive, effective, and equitable.” 

The report discusses approaches to tackling the crisis beyond addressing the shortage of behavioral health clinicians, including empowering non-clinical staff to connect with adolescents experiencing mild conditions, fighting against stigma surrounding behavioral health, and fostering better dialogue between families, schools, and communities.  

United Hospital Fund works to build an effective and equitable health care system for every New Yorker.

SOURCE United Hospital Fund

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/national-analysis-reveals-growing-adolescent-behavioral-health-crisis-and-ripple-effects-302118299.html
Images courtesy of https://pixabay.com

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