Determinants at the contextual level are important for children's and adolescents' mental health care utilization, as this is the level where policy makers and care providers can intervene to improve access to and provision of care. The objective of this review was to summarize the evidence on contextual determinants associated with mental health care utilization in children and adolescents. A systematic literature search in five electronic databases was conducted in August 2021 and retrieved 6439 unique records. Based on eight inclusion criteria, 74 studies were included. Most studies were rated as high quality (79.7%) and adjusted for mental health problems (66.2%). The determinants that were identified were categorized into four levels: organizational, community, public policy or macro-environmental. There was evidence of a positive association between mental health care utilization and having access to a school-based health center, region of residence, living in an urban area, living in an area with high accessibility of mental health care, living in an area with high socio-economic status, having a mental health parity law, a mental health screening program, fee-for-service plan (compared to managed care plan), extension of health insurance coverage and collaboration between organizations providing care. For the other 35 determinants, only limited evidence was available. To conclude, this systematic review identifies ten contextual determinants of children's and adolescents' mental health care utilization, which can be influenced by policymakers and care providers. Implications and future directions for research are discussed PROSPERO ID: CRD42021276033.
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