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2 million Californians report mental health needs; most receive little or no treatment
Date:11/30/2011

Nearly 2 million adults in California, about 8 percent of the population, need mental health treatment, but the majority receive no services or inadequate services, despite a state law mandating that health insurance providers include mental health treatment in their coverage options, a new report by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research shows.

The report, which provides some of the first comprehensive data ever collected on the mental health of California's adult population, found that one in 12 Californians reported symptoms consistent with serious psychological distress and experienced difficulty functioning at home or at work.

Over half of these adults reported receiving no treatment for their disorders, and about one-quarter received "inadequate" treatment, defined as less than four visits with a health professional over the past 12 months or using prescription drugs to manage mental health needs.

The study draws on data from the 2007 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), which is conducted by the center.

"There is a huge gap between needing help and getting help," said David Grant, the study's lead author and director of CHIS. "The data also shows large disparities in mental health status and treatment by demographic, economic and social factors. These findings can help direct the state's limited resources to those in greatest need of help."

Among the findings:

Insurance

Unsurprisingly, uninsured adults had the highest rate of unmet needs (87 percent), which includes receiving no treatment or receiving less than minimally adequate treatment; 66 percent of these adults received no treatment. By contrast, 77 percent of privately insured and 65 percent of publically insured Californians reported unmet needs. Although poverty and mental health needs are strongly correlated, the lower rate of unmet needs by public program participants suggests that these programs are mo
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Contact: Gwen Driscoll
gdriscoll@ucla.edu
310-794-0930
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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