Americans Struggling to Access Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment

HealthDay News reported a “staggering gap between the number of Americans who need care for anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions and those who can actually get it.” The National Council for Mental Wellbeing conducted an online survey revealing that 42 percent of U.S. adults seeking care over a recent 12-month period did not get it due to costs or other obstacles. Almost 25 percent of them indicated a need for substance abuse assistance.

The nationwide Access to Care Survey represented 2,053 adults in the U.S. who acknowledged barriers including cost, availability, delays, lack of diversity, and convenient access to care. While 21 percent reported problems acquiring primary health care, more than twice that many struggled to get mental health or substance abuse help. About half of the respondents said that their personal relationships and work situations suffered because of the lack of mental health care available.

Even those who did access care indicated they had trouble getting what they needed, whether for mental health care (67 percent) or substance use (81 percent), according to the survey. Speaking of mental health, the statistics presented at our annual conference in San Antonio by Dr. Matthew Stanford are riveting. His sessions alone make the cost of the conference recordings worthwhile. Your entire program staff should hear what he had to say.