DATA SPOTLIGHT: Prevalence of Mental Health Issues Among Indiana Youth
Defining Mental Health
Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how people think, feel, and act. Additionally, mental health helps to determine how individuals handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Elevated levels of stress, anxiety, fear, and isolation have been reported during the pandemic. To reduce the spread of COVID-19, many communities practiced containment strategies including social distancing and isolation, and quarantine. The Kaiser Family Foundation suggests that school closures, social distancing, loss of health insurance, and disruptions in medical care are contributing factors to declining mental health status in children. Loneliness had a strong correlation with mental health problems in children and adolescents and was associated with future mental health problems up to 9 years later. The strongest association was with depression.
Indiana’s Mental Health Policies and Initiatives
At the state level, policies and initiatives to increase mental health access include the Children’s Mental Health Initiative, Children’s Mental Health Wraparound Program, and 2020 public law for partnerships between schools and mental health centers. State-level policies and initiatives to increase mental health access include the Children’s Mental Health Initiative, Children’s Mental Health Wraparound Program, and a legislatively required for partnerships between schools and mental health centers.
- Under Indiana Code 20-34-3-21, traditional public school corporations and charter schools must enter a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a community mental health center or a mental health provider certified or licensed by the state. The school systems are required to have a MOU before applying for a grant from the Indiana secured school fund.
- The Indiana Department of Child Services provides mental health services to youth under the Children’s Mental Health Initiative (CMHI). Provided services include wraparound services, community-based skill-building, and therapeutic services, clinic-based services, and residential services. The CMHI was created to allow families access to needed services so that children with significant mental or behavioral health needs do not enter the child welfare or probation systems for the sole purpose of accessing services. The Children’s Mental Health Initiative also assists to cover gaps within the state where funding is missing for families who need assistance with mental and behavioral health care.
- Indiana’s Children’s Mental Health Wraparound (CMHW) Program provides home and community-based services to youth ages 6 to 17 who have a diagnosis of a serious emotional disturbance. A person-centered treatment plan is built upon the child and family’s strengths to identify the unique needs of the CMHW member and services and strategies that assist the member and family in achieving more positive outcomes in their lives.
- Indiana belongs to a group of 12 states with the highest rates of suicidal ideation. Indiana is one of the four states with high rates that have successfully passed state legislation for 988 implementation, which is a Congressionally-created mechanism to increase access to immediate crisis supports and provide a nationwide alternative to calling 911 for mental health crises. Beginning July 16, 2022, Hoosiers can dial “988” to be routed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.