TEXAS (KIAH) – A recent study revealed more than three in five children do not receive mental health services within six months of experiencing a firearm injury. But evidence gathered by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows better outcomes for kids who get early identification and timely connection after a firearm injury.
In “Timing of Mental Health Service Use after a Pediatric Firearm Injury,” published in the July 2023 Pediatrics, researchers found children with prior mental health service use or with a mental health diagnosis detected during the firearm injury encounter had higher odds of accessing mental health services.
Here are the keys points of the study:
- It looked at data on children ages 5-17 who had a firearm injury between 2010-2018.
- The children were enrolled in Medicaid.
- 958 of the 2,613 (36.7%) children used mental health services within six months of the firearm injury.
- Of those, 39.5% had no prior mental health service use.
- About 40% of that group had not used mental health services previously.
- White children had higher odds of using mental health services than Black children.
- Just over half of children seeking outpatient mental health services did so within a month of their injury.
Dr. Christina Johns, a leading pediatric emergency care physician, spoke to CW39 Houston’s Idolina Peralez to give parents insight on the importance of early intervention.