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Adolescent Suicide in Missouri
Suicide among children and adolescents is an escalating public health crisis. In 2016, MHA researchers found hospital utilization for suicide ideation among children and adolescents in Missouri had grown nearly 900 percent during the previous decade. The suicide mortality rate also is growing more rapidly for children in Missouri compared to the rest of the country, and research shows that the problem is most severe in rural areas.
A new analysis from MHA suggests childhood suicidality may be linked to insurance coverage. The 2017 statewide Medicaid managed care expansion created an opportunity to study the differences in care delivery between the traditional Medicaid fee-for-service program and Medicaid managed care. The study reviewed care provided to 2,152 children ages 5 to 19 who experienced an inpatient psychiatric hospitalization within the two Medicaid coverage models. It found significantly increased rates of suicidality for children impacted by the expansion, which occurred predominantly in Missouri’s rural counties.
The new research is intended to be a catalyst for payers, providers and policymakers to work together to improve physical and mental health outcomes for children in Missouri. Better access to behavioral health services and better health coverage could reduce suicides, suicide attempts and suicide ideation among rural youth.
Let’s work together to #ReimagineRuralHealth for our youth.