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12-01-2022 | Original Paper

Barriers to Mental Health Services for Parents and Siblings of Children with Special Health Care Needs

Journal of Child and Family Studies
Genevieve Graaf, Philip Baiden, Latocia Keyes, George Boyd
Belangrijke opmerkingen
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.


Caregivers of children with special health care needs (CSHCNs), especially those whose children have emotional, behavioral, or developmental problems (EBDPs), experience considerable strain and stress related to caring for their child’s special needs. The enormous burden of caregiving can decrease a parent’s ability to provide care, impacting the health of the child, the parents, and overall family functioning. To manage these challenges, these parents report the need for mental health care for themselves or their children, but many families with need go without care. Comprehensive knowledge about barriers to family mental health care for families of CSHCN is lacking. This study examines data from the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs (2005/2006 and 2009/2010) to estimate time-specific, population-based prevalence of fourteen specific barriers to family mental health services and identifies risk factors for experiencing barriers to care for families of CSHCN. Among all CSHCN, cost barriers (33.5%) and lack of insurance (15.9%) were the most commonly reported obstacles to service access in 2005 and 2009, followed by inconvenient service times (12.3%), and locations (8.7%). Reports of these barriers increased significantly from 2005 to 2009. All types of barriers to family mental health services were reported significantly more frequently by CSHCN with EBDPs than by those without. CSHCN’s race, insurance, and parent education and income levels were factors associated with cost barriers to family mental health care. Understanding barriers to mental health care for families of CSHCN is critical to creating policy and practice solutions that increase access to mental health care for these families.

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