Data shows little change in Americans’ use of mental health services

Key points

  • In 2020, 20.3% of adults in the United States received mental health treatment.
  • In 2020, 16.5% of American adults took prescription drugs for mental health.
  • In the United States, 10.1% of adults will receive mental health counseling services in 2020.

The pandemic has had a major impact on the mental health of the United States. The recently released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report found that mental health treatment increased by only 1.1% in 2020.

According to the National Health Interview Survey, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that 16.5% of respondents had used prescription drugs for mental health, while 10.1% had consulted with a therapist.

Although progress has been made in expanding the dialogue around mental health issues, it is clear that there is still a lot of work to be done. Although mental health treatment can go beyond prescription drugs and treatment, there are still barriers to accessing care based on oppression, stigma, and financial constraints.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report

The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) was completed through telephone interviews with adults across the United States in 2020 and found that compared with 2019, the mental health treatment of participants increased by only 1.1%.

NHIS stated that 16.5% of American adults have taken mental health prescription drugs, while 10.1% of participants have received mental health counseling. The percentage of adults who use drugs to treat mental health increases with age, while the percentage of participation in counseling services decreases with age.

Researchers found that women are more likely to receive any mental health treatment than men, but the limitation of this survey lies in its dependence on binary gender, especially considering that transgender and gender substandard people receive health care services in the United States. Challenges that are often faced from time to time.

Compared with BIPOC participants and adults in rural areas, the mental health treatment rate for whites is higher than that in urban areas.

Stigma can create obstacles

Psychiatrist Howard Pratt, director of behavioral health medicine at the South Florida Community Health Company, said: “This report concludes that the stigma associated with seeking mental health care has been persistent during the pandemic crisis. continued.”

Dr. Pratt explained that because of the stigma associated with this type of care, people are often reluctant to seek mental health care even when they need it. “We need more mental health resources and accept more that mental health is an important part of overall health,” he said.

As the pandemic has amplified existing problems, Dr. Pratt pointed out that the lack of adequate mental health resources and the failure of society to fully recognize the importance of mental health may persist.

Dr. Pratt explained: “At the beginning of the pandemic, people already have stressors to deal with, and when the pandemic hits, they increase the stressors. When we feel that the stressors are affecting us, usually we I don’t know what is bothering us, but we know something is wrong.”

Howard Pratt, do

The stigma associated with seeking mental health care can really guide a person away from seeking help when it truly benefits.

— Howard Pratt, do

If these people do not seek help, Dr. Pratt pointed out that if there is no mental health treatment, the initial minor problems may become more serious. “The longer you wait to resolve what might go wrong, the more likely it is that things will get worse,” he said.

Dr. Pratt emphasized that although people generally refuse to seek mental health resources, this does not mean that they actually do not need these services to solve their overall health problems.

In terms of his work at the South Florida Community Health Company, Dr. Pratt has seen a surge in patients requiring mental health care during the pandemic, but this is not the case in all parts of the country.

Dr. Pratt pointed out that many of the patients he treated were afraid to walk into the psychiatrist’s office, but they realized it was necessary. “The stigma associated with seeking mental health care can really guide a person away from seeking help when they really benefit,” he said.

Promote greater acceptance

Dr. Mayra Mendez of LMFT, a licensed psychotherapist and coordinator of the Intellectual and Developmental Disability and Mental Health Services Program at Providence St. John’s Children and Family Development Center, said: “I think the takeaway message is by facilitating widespread acceptance.”

Mendes explained that denying, avoiding, or ignoring mental health needs can perpetuate negative stigma, rather than breaking the negative emotions and shame traditionally associated with mental health needs.

Despite having been committed to raising awareness and promoting acceptance in the past decade, Mendes said, “There must be continued efforts to increase mental health awareness, and this work must be directed towards increasing the choice and accessibility of mental health services for everyone. The direction of development.”

Mendes pointed out that ordinary people have the power to promote access to mental health in the necessary ways. She said: “Recognizing the need for mental health and resistance to participating in psychotherapy are still great.”

Although most of the resistance may be caused by limited service options and availability, Mendes emphasized that most of the resistance is the continuing negative stigmatization of mental health needs.

Mendez explained that the public needs to understand existing mental health treatments and how to connect to services when needed, because many of these options are usually not advertised, but people need to be made aware of where they can get help and where to go to the community.

Mayra Mendez, PhD, LMFT

Mental health challenges are universal and experienced by people of all ages, gender identity, race, socioeconomic status, cognitive level, and religious beliefs.

— Mayra Mendez, PhD, LMFT

For example, Mendes pointed out, “There are insurance reimbursements, government-funded professional mental health programs, such as crime victim compensation programs, clinical trial programs that provide mental health evaluation and treatment while supporting research, as well as Medicaid and state or county The funded funds are used for mental health programs.”

Mendes explained: “The media plays an important role in communicating the acceptance of mental health issues, but most of the content seen in the media is crimes, disadvantages and horror stories related to mental illness.”

Mendez pointed out that studies by CDC, NIH, etc. have shown that there is a gap between the number of people undergoing mental health diagnosis and the number of people actually participating in treatment. “Research consistently shows that less than 50% of people diagnosed with a mental illness receive treatment,” she says.

Seeking mental health treatment can be challenging, but Mendes emphasized, “The process of establishing a therapeutic relationship with a well-trained and experienced therapist provides individuals with opportunities for discovery and recovery, to learn to enrich in ways they cannot obtain. The skills of their lives are themselves.”

Mendes reiterated, “Mental health challenges are universal and are experienced by people of all ages, gender identity, race, socioeconomic status, cognitive level, and religious beliefs. According to my experience, people who seek help and apply learning strategies Are more likely to experience a productive and satisfying life.”

Mental health care resources

Given that the recently released CDC report indicated that BIOC adults have fewer mental health treatments than white participants, individuals may benefit from contacting the following resources:

What this means to you

This study reflects data for 2020, so during 2021, participation in mental health treatment may have changed. These statistics also do not take into account the treatment efforts that people make in addition to mental health treatment or the use of psychiatric drugs, such as spending time outdoors, creative pursuits, etc.

Mendez recommends that if you or your loved one can benefit from exploring the possibilities of mental health treatment, “211 public service phone numbers are available to anyone seeking mental health referral options. Two-in-one is a free and Easily accessible services provide callers with resources for treatment options.”