Need for Behavioral Health Services
Historically, recruiting and retaining behavioral health professionals has been a difficult endeavor. Access to care is often restricted, as almost half the counties in the U.S. have no mental health professionals to see people in need. Mental Health America, a nationally based, non-profit organization, published a report entitled The State of Mental Health in America 2018, by Nguyen, T. et al (2017)*.
- One (1) in five (5) adults has a mental health condition. That is over 40 million Americans; more than the populations of New York and Florida combined.
- Youth mental health is worsening. Rates of youth with severe depression increased from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015. Even with severe depression, 76% of youth are left with no or insufficient treatment.
- More Americans have access to services... Access to insurance and treatment increased, as healthcare reform has reduced the rates of uninsured adults. The greatest decrease in uninsured Adults with mental illnesses occurred in states that expanded Medicaid.
- ...But most Americans still lack access to care. 56% of American adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment. Even in Maine, the state with the best access, 41.4% of adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment.
- There is a serious mental health workforce shortage. In states with the lowest workforce, the number of providers per patient is up to six (6) times greater than in other areas. This includes psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors, and psychiatric nurses combined.