Purpose: In this study, we describe the characteristics of adolescents with mental health problems among those presenting to primary care clinics in urban areas.
Methods: The sample included 1,076 adolescents aged 12-18 years who presented to federally qualified community health clinics in urban cities in the Midwest. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the associations between having a mental health problem with demographic characteristics, health-related variables, and other risk and promotive factors. We also examined the use of health services and involvement in activities among those with mental health problems.
Results: Approximately 14% of adolescents screened positive for a mental health problem; among those with a mental health problem, 42.8% received mental health services in the past 3 months. In the multivariate logistic regression analysis, adolescents who were female, with poorer grades, fair to poor self-reported health, using drugs, and lower parental monitoring were more likely to have a mental health problem. In bivariate analyses, adolescents with mental health problems were less likely to participate in school activities and community activities and more likely to use emergency room services.
Conclusions: Adolescents with mental health problems were more likely to have several other difficulties including poor grades, poor self-rated health, drug/alcohol use, and sexual activity. This study highlights the importance of screening youth with multidimensional needs and referring them to the appropriate services.
Published by Elsevier Inc.