Social Disparities in Mental Health Service Use Among Children and Youth in Ontario: Evidence From a General, Population-Based Survey Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Objectives To examine differences in mental health-related service contacts between immigrant, refugee, racial and ethnic minoritized children and youth, and the extent to which social, and economic characteristics account for group differences. Methods The sample for analyses includes 10,441 children and youth aged 4–17 years participating in the 2014 Ontario Child Health Study. The primary caregiver completed assessments of their child's mental health symptoms, perceptions of need for professional help, mental health-related service contacts, experiences of discrimination and sociodemographic and economic characteristics. Results Adjusting for mental health symptoms and perceptions of need for professional help, children and youth from immigrant, refugee and racial and ethnic minoritized backgrounds were less likely to have mental health-related service contacts (adjusted odds ratios ranged from 0.54 to 0.79), compared to their non-immigrant peers and those who identified as White. Group differences generally remained the same or widened after adjusting for social and economic characteristics. Large differences in levels of perceived need were evident across non-migrant and migrant children and youth. Conclusion Lower estimates of mental health-related service contacts among immigrant, refugee and racial and ethnic minoritized children and youth underscore the importance and urgency of addressing barriers to recognition and treatment of mental ill-health among children and youth from minoritized backgrounds.

publication date

  • December 2022