More Americans continue to receive mental health services, but substance use treatment levels remain low

Thursday, September 17, 2015

In 2014, almost half (44.7 percent) of the 43.6 million American adults (aged 18 and older) who experienced a mental illness in the past year received mental health care according to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).   The percentage of adults receiving past year mental health treatment in 2014 was comparable to the 2013 level, which was higher than in past years.  For youth who received inpatient or outpatient mental health services, over half reported that they sought mental health treatment due to feeling depressed.

In 2014, of the 22.5 million people aged 12 or older who needed help with a substance use disorder, 2.6 million (11.6 percent) received specialty substance use treatment anytime in the prior year.  The vast majority of people who needed treatment that did not receive substance use treatment (96 percent) did not feel they needed it.

Among people needing substance use treatment who unsuccessfully sought it, the lack of adequate health insurance or an inability to afford the cost of treatment was the most often cited reason for not getting it.  All of these substance use treatment statistics are comparable to levels in past years.

Nearly half of the 5.3 million American adults who perceived the need for, but did not receive mental health care, reported they did not receive it because they could not afford the cost of it.   A total of 11.8 million Americans reported that they had an unmet need for additional mental health services.

“The Obama Administration has provided the largest expansion of insurance coverage for behavioral health services in a generation, made possible by the Affordable Care Act and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act,” said Rear Admiral Peter Delany of the U.S. Public Health Commission Corps, Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. “SAMHSA will continue to help increase access to these services for all segments of society, providing Americans who experience mental and substance use disorders with treatment and services that can transform and revitalize their lives.”

SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Locator ( is a ready source of information on a wide array of mental health and substance use programs throughout the nation.

The report, Receipt of Services for Behavioral Health Problems, is based on SAMHSA’s 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health report, an annual national survey of 67,500 Americans aged 12 and older.  For a copy of the full report go to:

For more information, contact the SAMHSA Press Office at 240-276-2130.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.

Last Updated: 09/17/2015