Bergen's Promise's Director of Health Services and Integrated Care Liaison, Jan Schlaier, and Health & Wellness Educator, Amy Faus, recently published a report in the Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet called “Health Literacy of Youth with Co-Occurring Behavioral and Physical Health Care Needs: A Preliminary Report”
Adolescents and young adults are often active participants in their health care, but our understanding of health literacy needs in this population is limited. The significance of this gap in the literature is magnified for youth facing behavioral health challenges in addition to chronic health conditions. This preliminary report finds that over two-thirds (68.7%) of a sample of youth ages 10–21 with co-occurring behavioral health and physical health challenges in Bergen County, New Jersey have low (12.7%), or the possibility of low (46.0%), health literacy. Based on this preliminary report, pediatric practices and organizations providing integrated health care services to youth may consider implementing health literacy screening to identify youth and families with the greatest potential need for intervention. Providing health literacy education and support to not only parents but also youth will serve to help youth become more confident participants in their health care.