WASHINGTON, Oct. 10, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Today, Cohen Veterans Network (CVN), a national not-for-profit philanthropic
The study offers a comprehensive analysis of the state of mental health care in the U.S. It is comprised of a two-pronged research project that includes an online survey of 5,000 American adults, and a robust analysis of third-party data measuring patients' access to mental health services in terms of four pillars – providers, facilities, funding and perceived satisfaction among patients.
"There is a mental health crisis in America. My experience establishing mental health clinics across the country, coupled with this study, shows that more needs to be done to give Americans much needed access to mental health services," said Cohen Veterans Network President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Anthony Hassan. "If we want to save lives, save families and save futures we must reimagine our behavioral health system and take concrete steps to improving consumers' ability to find the care they need, when they need it, and on their terms."
Despite Strong Demand for Mental Health Services, Common Barriers Remain
The demand for mental health services is stronger than ever, with nearly six in 10 (56%) Americans seeking or wanting to seek mental health services either for themselves or for a loved one. These individuals are skewing younger and are more likely to be of lower income and have a military background. The large majority of Americans (76%) also believe mental health is just as important as physical health.
"This study confirmed what we hear from our members every day, that individuals and families continue to struggle to find the help they desperately need," said Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of National Council for Behavioral Health. "Mental health and addiction providers need adequate funding to hire skilled staff, employ evidence-based practices and adopt innovative technologies – all of which will help us meet demand."
Despite this strong demand and growing societal awareness of the importance of mental health in the U.S., the study revealed that the overwhelming majority of Americans (74%) do not believe such services are accessible for everyone, and about half (47%) believe options are limited.
These beliefs are driven by several perceived barriers in Americans' ability to seek mental health treatment, including:
Several individuals blamed the U.S. government and insurers for not providing enough funding and support for access. Nearly one in five of Americans, or 17%, noted they have had to choose between getting treatment for a physical health condition and a mental health condition due to their insurance policy. The majority (64%) of Americans who have sought treatment believe the U.S. government needs to do more to improve mental health services.
While most Americans have heard of telehealth as an option for treating mental health issues, only 7% have reported using it. When asked if they would be open to using it, almost half, or 45%, of Americans who have not already tried telehealth services said they would be open to the idea of trying a service to address a current or future mental health need.
Furthermore, younger Americans (i.e., Gen Z and Millennials) are less sure about resources for mental health services, compared to older generations. This younger generation was also more likely to find it too hard to figure out legitimate resources online. Instead, many turned to unreliable resources for information, including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Stark Disparities in Accessibility at State and Income Levels
Based on the analysis of third-party data, states are struggling to keep up with demand due to lack of funding and facilities, and, to a lesser extent, providers. Texas, Wisconsin and Georgia ranked among the lowest in terms of lacking adequate number of providers, facilities and funding to support the states' populations. Pennsylvania, New York and Minnesota ranked among the top.
There is also a large disparity in access to mental health care based on level of income and location. Individuals located in rural areas and of lower-income are less likely to say that mental health services are extremely accessible to them.
Compared to middle- and high-income households, low-income Americans are less likely to know where to go for treatment and more likely to use a community center verses a qualified mental health center. Of the Americans that have not sought mental health treatment, more than half, or 53%, were in low-income households.
In addition, compared to Americans living in urban and suburban areas, individuals living in rural areas are less likely to proactively seek mental health specialists they need, and instead go to their primary care doctor or community center for treatment. Rural Americans are also less accepting of mental health services and care.
The Path Forward
The Cohen Veterans Network and National Council for Behavioral Health believe that more must be done to improve access to care for everyday Americans. Specifically, younger Americans need more information on how and where to access care and need to understand that treatments are effective. We also need to improve the understanding of the real cost of delivering mental health care and move reimbursement levels to parity with physical health care. Finally, new models should be explored, including philanthropy, such as Cohen Veterans Network, and Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) as well as community programs like Mental Health First Aid. For more information on the study results and how CVN and National Council are working to address mental wellness and accessibly across the country, please visit http://www.cohenveteransnetwork.org or http://www.TheNationalCouncil.org.
About America's Mental Health 2018 Cohen Veterans Network and National Council for Behavioral Health partnered with Ketchum Analytics who conducted an online survey among 5,000 Americans, representative of the U.S. population based on age, gender, region, household income and race/ethnicity. The survey was conducted between July 31 – August 12, 2018, with a margin of error of +/- 1.38 at the 95% confidence level. Through the survey, the following groups were identified: veterans, active duty military and those with a secondary relationship with a veteran as well as those who have sought mental health treatment (Mental Health Treatment Seekers). A custom index was developed, ranking each state according to its mental health service access. Third-party data was gathered to determine access based on four pillars: providers, facilities, funding and satisfaction. Data was aggregated and averaged to each state, resulting in a score between 0 and 100, where 100 indicates the greatest access.
About Cohen Veterans Network The Cohen Veterans Network (CVN) is a 501(c)(3) national not-for-profit philanthropic organization for post-9/11 veterans and their families. CVN focuses on improving mental health outcomes, with a goal to build a network of outpatient mental health clinics for veterans and their families in high-need communities, in which trained clinicians deliver holistic evidence-based care to treat mental health conditions. There are currently 10 Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics nationwide.
About National Council for Behavioral Health The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America's health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. Together with our 2,900-member organizations serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and more than one million Americans have been trained. For more information, please visit http://www.TheNationalCouncil.org.
For More Information: Paul Wood, Cohen Veterans Network, (203) 569-0289 Joy Burwell, National Council for Behavioral Health, (202) 748-8789 Kaitlyn Rawlett, Weber Shandwick, (212) 445-8082
SOURCE Cohen Veterans Network
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