Cincinnati faces a severe mental health crisis among its children, with over 2,000 kids waiting for crucial mental health assistance at a single center.

Cincinnati area kids in crisis wait on lists for mental health care
Photo from Cincinnati Inquirer

Mental Health Crisis

The average wait time for professional care is a distressing 98 days, causing immense worry for parents. The situation is being described as a pressing issue by healthcare professionals and organizations. The shortage of mental health care providers results from multiple factors, including a lack of individuals pursuing careers in the field and specialists leaving due to low Medicaid reimbursement rates. The shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists is particularly concerning, with Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana counties falling significantly below the recommended ratio of psychiatrists per 100,000 children,  according to FOX 19.

Efforts are being made to address the gap in care, including the push for primary care pediatricians to play a more significant role in providing mental health support. However, there is a need for improved training for pediatricians to identify and address mental health issues in children effectively. Steps are being taken to incorporate mental health training into pediatric residency programs.

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Cincinnati-area health funders and advocacy groups work on various initiatives to combat the crisis. Investments are being made in youth mental health programs and integrating mental health services into pediatric practices to ensure early intervention and support.

While progress is being made, the urgency of the mental health crisis remains. Over the years, it will take time to overcome the challenges that have accumulated. However, the community is committed to working together to provide the necessary mental health care for Cincinnati’s children. For more information, please click here.

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