Report Shows Lacking Mental Health Services Coverage

As of the end of the 2014 open enrollment period, 15 million Americans who did not have health insurance before the Affordable Care Act now have coverage.

It’s a significant victory, bringing the total number of uninsured adults from 18 percent to 12.9 percent at the end of the 2014 fourth quarter, according to Gallup.

But a new report by the advocacy group Mental Health America suggests despite the major strides in overall access to health insurance Obamacare has provided, getting affordable mental health services may still be a challenge.

The report shows the prevalence of mental illness in the country:

– 42.5 million, or 18.9 percent, of adults in the U.S. suffer from a mental illness

– 19.7 million, or 8.46 percent, adults have a substance abuse problem

– 8.8 million, or 3.77 percent, adults report serious thoughts of suicide

The key finding of the report, though, is that despite the frequency of mental illness among U.S. adults, access to sufficient care is still an issue.

According to the report:

– Only 41.4 percent of individuals with a mental illness report receiving treatment

– 1 in 5 adults with a mental illness reported they did not get the services they felt they needed.

States with the lowest prevalence of mental illness and the highest rates of access to care are Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, North Dakota and Delaware. Those with the highest prevalence of mental illness and most access are Arizona, Mississippi, Nevada, Washington and Louisiana.

Paul Gionfriddo, CEO of Mental Health America, said he would like to see mental illness treated and covered more like other chronic conditions or diseases.

“We have to stop waiting until mental illnesses reach Stage 4 to treat them,” he wrote. “By Stage 4, problems are so advanced that even with the best treatments available, recovery is often compromised.”

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