Family and Kids Health and Wellness Youth

Medicaid and CHIP give children access to behavioral health services

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(StatePoint) Over the last two years, the mental health crisis in the United States has gotten worse. A major reason for that is the COVID-19 pandemic, which has contributed to a rise in anxiety and depression among young people. But even before the pandemic, as many as one in six children in the United States between the ages of 6 and 17 had a treatable mental health disorder, a 2019 JAMA Pediatrics study found. For parents, it’s a stark reminder that mental health and support for children is crucial.

“Young people are facing unprecedented stress. Increasing access to high-quality pediatric mental health services is a critical step to addressing the youth mental health crisis,” said Dr. Aditi Mallick, chief medical officer, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

“As a physician and mother, I have seen firsthand how foundational mental health is to the overall health and well-being of our country’s children, and Medicaid and CHIP can help families access the care they need,” Mallick added.

If you think your child may need mental health services, you have health coverage options. One of those may be free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid and CHIP. Below are some frequently asked questions about these services.

What types of mental health services are covered under Medicaid and CHIP?

With Medicaid and CHIP coverage, children have access to a number of services to prevent, diagnose, and treat mental and behavioral health disorders, including:

• Autism spectrum disorder

• Attention deficit disorder

• Anxiety disorders

• Depression

• Substance use disorder

Does my child qualify for Medicaid or CHIP?

Eligibility generally depends on your income level and household size, and varies by state. You’ll find that some programs offer coverage to your entire family. Medicaid and CHIP enrollment is open year-round, and the process to apply has gotten faster. Many families can apply and find out if they qualify the same day. To learn more about state-specific coverage options or to enroll, visit or call 1-877-KIDS-NOW.

Take charge of your child’s mental health

Mental health care for children is an important part of their development. So, take time to explore your health coverage options, including Medicaid and CHIP. Looking for more mental health resources for children? Visit to learn more about children’s mental health.

Information provided by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services


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