The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released its 2022 KIDS COUNT Data Book which shows how Michigan stacks up to the rest of the country in key indicators for child well-being.
The 33rd edition of the Data Book describes how children in America are in the midst of a mental health crisis, struggling with anxiety and depression at unprecedented levels.
According to the Data Book, the incidence of anxiety and depression among kids has spiked. Comparing pre-pandemic to the first year of the COVID-19 crisis, the share of children struggling to make it through the day rose nearly 26% from 5.8 million kids in 2016 to 7.3 million kids in 2020.
In Michigan, 13.5% of children ages 3 to 17 have been diagnosed with or reported anxiety or depression in 2020 compared to 11.9% in 2016.
The four domains of the Data Book, economic well-being, education, health and family and community, capture factors that reflect the link between mental health and a child’s overall well-being.
Nationally, Michigan ranks 32nd overall:
- 29th in Economic Well-being: 23% of children live in poverty and 25% live in a household with a high housing cost burden.
- 40th in Education: 53% of young children ages 3 and 4 were not in school according to data from 2016-2020, worse than in previous years and 19% of high school students are not graduating on time.
- 27th in Health: 3% of children are without health insurance and 8.9% of babies have low birth weight.
- 29th in Family and Community: 35% of children are in single-parent families, worse than in previous years, 12% of children live in high-poverty areas and 9% of children are in families where the head of the household does not have a high school diploma.
The full publication provides data on the four domains and mental health at the national level.
The foundation offers recommendations for policymakers working to address the ongoing youth mental health crisis:
- Prioritize meeting basic needs: Children and their families need a foundation of nutritious food, stable housing, safe neighborhoods and financial stability to foster positive mental health and wellness.
- Ensure all children have access to mental health care: The federal government should ensure every child has health insurance. Schools should increase the presence of social workers, psychologists and other mental health professionals on staff, striving to meet the 250-to-2 ratio of students to counselors. Education leaders should work with local health care providers and local and state governments to make additional federal resources available and coordinate treatment.
- Bolster mental health care that accounts for young people’s different experiences and identities: Children need programs designed to help them heal emotionally from violence or other traumatic experiences. Care should be grounded in the latest evidence and research and geared toward early intervention.
Download the full Data Book.
Read Michigan’s data profile on child well-being.
Read Michigan League for Public Policy’s 2022 Kids Count profiles by county.