New Report Points to Cost as a Major Barrier to Mental Health Care
Less than half of U.S. adults with a serious mental illness received
treatment or counseling for a mental health problem during the past
year, according to a recent short report from SAMHSA's National
Survey on Drug Use and Health, formerly the National Household Survey
on Drug Abuse. Among the more than 2 million adults with serious
mental illness who did not receive treatment but felt that they
needed it, half (50 percent) reported that the cost of care was
a reason they did not receive treatment.
Other major barriers to receiving treatment included having concerns
about what family members, friends, or employers might think (28
percent), not knowing where to go for treatment (26 percent), the
fear of being committed or having to take medication (9 percent),
and the lack of time or transportation (8 percent).
For the purposes of this study, prepared by SAMHSA's Office of
Applied Studies (OAS), treatment is defined as receiving services
or counseling in an inpatient or outpatient setting, or taking prescription
medication to help alleviate a mental or emotional condition.
The survey found that females (11 percent) were more likely to
have serious mental illness in the past year than males (6 percent).
Females with serious mental illness were more likely to have received
treatment than their male counterparts. Young adults age 18 to 25
had higher rates of past-year serious mental illness (13 percent)
than adults age 26 to 49 (10 percent) and those age 50 or older
Yet, of the three age groups, only 34 percent of young adults
with serious mental illness received treatment in the
past year compared to 54 percent of those age 26 to 49 and 46 percent
of adults age 50 and older. Whites with serious mental illness (52
percent) were more likely than blacks (37 percent) or Hispanics
(38 percent) to have received mental
health treatment in the past year.
To obtain an electronic copy of this report, Reasons for Not
Receiving Treatment Among Adults with Serious Mental Illness,
go to SAMHSA’s
Web site at www.samhsa.gov/oas/2k3/MhnoTX/MhnoTX.cfm.
For other OAS reports
on mental health, go to www.samhsa.gov/oas/mh.cfm.
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