It is well known that there is an ongoing crisis in youth behavioral health in the US and that the COVID19 pandemic has exacerbated the crisis (see accompanying report Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Diagnoses among Medicaid-Enrolled Youth before the Pandemic: Summary of Findings from Four States and the District of Columbia). However, little detail exists on youth behavioral health conditions at the state, county, or city level. Because the prevalence and type of SUD and mental health condition vary over time, place, and populations, providing communities with information about prevalence and characteristics of youth with behavioral health issues that is as specific to their communities as possible is a critical component of shaping the most appropriate responses. Given the impact of pandemic mitigation on young people and people with low incomes, and the fact that Medicaid is the largest single funder of behavioral health services for youth, it also important to disseminate information about the prevalence and characteristics of youth with behavioral health conditions insured by Medicaid from before, during, and after the pandemic. This information can help stakeholders better assess how these issues are evolving in their states and communities and design responsive policy. In this brief, we provide descriptive statistics to show the prevalence of behavioral health diagnoses among New Mexico Medicaid-enrolled youth and characteristics of youth with these diagnoses before the pandemic. We focus on Medicaid-enrolled adolescents (ages 12 to 18) and young adults (ages 19 to 25), hereafter “youth.” Medicaid is the largest single funder of health services for youth—about two-fifths of adolescents and one-quarter of young adults in the United States are enrolled in Medicaid—and many states are innovating their Medicaid programs to improve behavioral health–related services, including services tailored to youth. We focus on youth with a behavioral health diagnosis because we rely on Medicaid claims data and can only see those youth with a behavioral health condition who have a record indicating they have a behavioral health diagnosis. We provide estimates of the characteristics of enrolled youth with cooccurring diagnoses of SUD and a mental health condition, a SUD diagnosis only (and no mental health condition), a mental health condition diagnosis only (and no SUD), and no SUD or mental health diagnosis. We primarily compare youth with SUD and mental health diagnoses with youth with neither diagnosis. For additional detail on our motivation see our brief summarizing findings for California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Washington, DC. For additional detail on our methods, including the limitations of our data and analysis, see our methodology appendix.
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