Defining the pediatric population as individuals aged 0-22 years, and focusing on the age groups 13-18 years and 19-22 years, FAIR Health studied the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on US pediatric mental health. To do so, FAIR Health analyzed data from its database of over 32 billion private healthcare claim records, tracking month-by-month changes from January to November 2020 compared to the same months in 2019. Aspects of pediatric mental health investigated include overall mental health, intentional self-harm, overdoses and substance use disorders, top mental health diagnoses, reasons for emergency room visits and state-by-state variations.
FAIR found that mental health claims for teens (ages 13-18) approximately doubled in March and April 2020 over the same months in the previous year.
Other notable findings include:
- Comparing August 2019 to August 2020 in the Northeast, for the age group 13-18, there was a 333.93 percent increase in intentional self-harm claim lines as a percentage of all medical claim lines, a rate higher than that in any other region in any month studied for that age group.
- Claim lines for intentional self-harm as a percentage of all medical claim lines in the 13-18 age group increased 90.71 percent in March 2020 compared to March 2019. The increase was even larger when comparing April 2020 to April 2019, nearly doubling (99.83 percent).
- For the age group 13-18, claim lines for overdoses increased 94.91 percent as a percentage of all medical claim lines in March 2020 and 119.31 percent in April 2020 over the same months the year before. Claim lines for substance use disorders also increased as a percentage of all medical claim lines in March (64.64 percent) and April (62.69 percent) 2020 as compared to their corresponding months in 2019.
- For the age group 6-12, from spring to November 2020, claim lines for obsessive-compulsive disorder and tic disorders increased as a percentage of all medical claim lines from their levels in the corresponding months of 2019.
- For the age group 13-18, in April 2020, claim lines for generalized anxiety disorder increased 93.6 percent as a percentage of all medical claim lines over April 2019, while major depressive disorder claim lines increased 83.9 percent and adjustment disorder claim lines 89.7 percent.
- In general, the age group 19-22 had mental health trends similar to but less pronounced than the age group 13-18.
This data demonstrates a profound impact on the mental health of children and the increased need for mental health services for children. If your child is struggling, please speak to a mental health professional.
For the full 34 page report from FAIR Health (March 2, 2021), Click here.