During the pandemic, teens’ mental health services accounted for a much greater proportion of all their medical claims than in the past, especially last March and April, according to a FAIR Health “white paper”.
Mental health claims essentially doubled as a percentage of all medical claims for individuals age 13-18 in March (+97%) and April (+103.5%) of 2020 compared with the same periods a year earlier, the report said. Medical claims overall fell by about half during that time.
“We clearly see a reduction in people accessing medical care, particularly in March and April, but we see a continued utilization of mental health services during that period,” Robin Gelburd, president of FAIR Health, told MedPage Today. “The need for mental health services persisted and in some ways increased during that period.”
That pattern persisted through the end of November 2020 — the last month examined in the study — but to a lesser extent, according to the report.
Jess Shatkin, MD, MPH, of the Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said while the data aren’t surprising, they “speak to something we’ve all been concerned about.”
“We know that teenagers already have high rates of mental illness,” Shatkin told MedPage Today. “Now [with the pandemic], their parents are starting to struggle, with relationships, jobs, food security. It just ups the ante. We already see vulnerability and this just makes them more vulnerable.”
Read the rest at: medpagetoday.com