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QuickStats: Percentage of Children Aged 4--17 Years with Emotional or Behavioral Difficulties* Who Used Mental Health Services, by Type of Service --- United States, 2003


* Includes children whose parents reported that they had "definite or severe difficulties," based on response to the question, "Overall, do you think that [child] has a difficulty with emotions, concentration, behavior, or being able to get along with others?"

Includes contact or visit with a mental health professional (i.e., psychiatrist, psychologist, clinical social worker, or psychiatric nurse) during the preceding 12 months, visit with a general physician (i.e., a physician in general practice, pediatrics, family medicine, or internal medicine) for an emotional or behavioral difficulty during the preceding 12 months, or receipt of special education services for an emotional or behavioral difficulty. A child might have received more than one type of service.

In 2003, among the 2.7 million U.S. children aged 4--17 years for whom parents reported definite or severe emotional or behavioral difficulties (5% of all children in that age group), nearly two thirds had had contact with a mental health professional or general physician or had used special education services for those difficulties.

SOURCE: Simpson GA, Bloom B, Cohen RA, Blumberg S, Bourdon KH. U.S. children with emotional and behavioral difficulties: data from the 2001, 2002, and 2003 National Health Interview Surveys. Advance data from vital and health statistics; no. 360. Hyattsville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2005. Available at

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Date last reviewed: 8/31/2005


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