Addressing the Gap in Care for Teens and Young Adults in Texas

Addressing the Gap in Care for Teens and Young Adults in Texas

Like their peers around the country, adolescents and young adults in Texas are struggling with anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and other co-occurring disorders. Yet, according to Mental Health America’s 2021 rankings, 67 percent of Texas teens and 60 percent of adults in the state do not receive any care at all for major depression or other mental health conditions. In fact, it’s harder for young people to access treatment in Texas than it is in almost any other state in the nation.

The most recent Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Study, conducted by the US Department of Health & Human Services, found additional data regarding the need for mental health treatment programs in the Lone Star State. The survey found that 38 percent of Texas teens felt sad or hopeless every day for two or more weeks in the year prior to the survey. Moreover, during that time period, nearly one out of every four Texas teens seriously considered suicide, 15 percent made a plan to commit suicide, and 10 percent actually made an attempt. 

The Troubling Lack of Mental Health Programs in Texas

In terms of access to care for teen and young adult mental health and substance abuse issues, Texas is among the worst states in the nation, with only three states ranking lower. Mental Health America puts Texas at number 47 among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The state’s low ranking is based on the following troubling statistics:

  • 67 percent of teens in Texas with major depression did not receive any care at all
  • Only 25 percent received any treatment at all for their mental health issues
  • 108,000 Texas teens did not have insurance that covered mental or emotional problems.

The youth mental health crisis in Texas and around the country has been exacerbated over the last year and a half as a result of pandemic-related distress and trauma. Young adults are among the age groups that have experienced the highest rates of depression and anxiety since March 2020, while teen mental health–related emergency room visits have gone up by 31 percent since the pandemic began. 

Teen and Young Adult Substance Abuse Rates in Texas

According to the MHA rankings, 80,000 teens in Texas struggled with substance abuse disorder in 2020. The Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance Study gleaned additional data on the need for treatment programs in Dallas and other parts of the state:

  • Nearly half of all teens had used a vape
  • 33.5 percent had used marijuana at least once, and 18 percent were using marijuana currently
  • 28 percent drank alcohol, and 11.5 percent engaged in binge drinking
  • 17 percent had abused prescription pain medication
  • 28 percent had been offered or sold an illegal drug at school. 

In addition, the Texas Student Survey found that students typically try marijuana for the first time around age 14. That’s significant, because youth who start using marijuana before age 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop a cannabis use disorder than those who start using the drug as adults. 

Evidence-Based Outpatient Care to Support Young People and Families in Dallas

As the need for Dallas mental health services and programs in other Texas cities and towns increases, more parents are seeking high-quality care for teens. When researching troubled youth programs in Dallas Texas, look for adolescent residential treatment centers and Dallas IOP programs that provide individualized treatment plans designed and delivered by licensed behavioral healthcare experts.

For teens and young adults who need a higher level of care than weekly therapy can provide, Newport Healthcare’s new outpatient programs in Dallas offer specialized treatment with Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient options. Based in the same sustainable healing approach as our other nationally recognized programs across the country, the new Dallas location provides integrated, comprehensive care tailored to the unique needs of young people.

Our clinical model of care addresses the trauma and attachment wounds that catalyze mental health disorders and self-destructive behaviors such as substance abuse. Teens and young adults in our outpatient programs are guided by compassionate mental healthcare providers to process trauma and build the resilience and healthy coping skills that will allow them to navigate these pivotal stages of life.