According to the Surgeon General, about 20% of children are estimated to have a mental disorder, with 5-9% of children having severe functional impairment or serious emotional disturbances. Of the total number of children and adolescents suffering at least mild functional impairment, fewer than 1 in 5 receive treatment. While it is estimated that approximately 33,000 child and adolescent psychiatrists are needed to adequately treat children in the U.S., there are only 7,000 child and adolescent psychiatrists in the U.S. today.
This underutilization of mental health services has been attributed to several factors including stigma, reluctance of some parents and/or children to seek treatment, cost, insurance barriers, cultural traditions, and difficulty locating or getting to providers. Several of these factors, such as stigma, reluctance to seek treatment and difficulty locating or getting to mental health providers can be overcome or minimized by co-located or other collaborative efforts between primary care providers (PCPs) and mental health professionals.
In recognition of this growing need, OMH's Division of Child and Family Services has established the New York Consultation and Telepsychiatry (NYCaT) program. This initiative is currently funded to address child psychiatric consultation needs in areas with health care shortages and to support the treatment youth receive both in mental health programs and primary care practices throughout the State. NYCaT is a key component of the New York State Office of Mental Health's goal to increase access to appropriate and effective services.
NYCaT is helping to meet the needs of children and their families in New York State through:
- Project TEACH (Training and Education for the Advancement of Children's Health)
- Consultation and Telepsychiatry to State-Operated Children's Programs
Comments or questions about the information on this page can be directed to the NYCaT Coordinator.