Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Colin Hollidge


Social Work


Millions of children in the United States suffer from untreated mental health problems. However, much of the literature available on barriers to mental health does not address the barriers children face in accessing services. This systematic review was designed to explore the research question: What are the barriers parents and caregivers face in seeking and receiving mental health services for children in the United States? A systematic search was conducted for peer-reviewed articles since 2000 using the following search terms: child, mental health, mental health services, parent, parental, help-seeking, barriers, cultural barriers, unmet, and treatment. These search terms were entered in the following electronic databases: PsychInfo, Social Work Abstract, Google Scholar, and Summon. Ten articles were identified and included in this systematic review based on meeting inclusion and exclusion criteria as well as a quality assessment. Through a review of the 10 articles, barriers that parents and caregivers face in meeting their children’s mental health needs were identified. The obstacles identified from the articles were categorized into four groups: logistic barriers, financials barriers, child characteristics, and parental characteristics and beliefs. Future research is required to further understand the role parents play in accessing mental health care for their children and strengthen the generalizability of current findings. It is important for social workers to understand the barriers which parents and children face in accessing services in order to increase the accessibility of children’s mental health care.

Included in

Social Work Commons