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Nearly Five Million Californians Need Mental Health Services

Nearly 5 million of Californians Need Mental Health Services UCLA researchers have determined that 4.9 million people in California believe they need help for a mental or emotional health problem.

Researchers from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research also determined that approximately one in 25, or more than 1 million, reported symptoms associated with serious psychological distress (SPD), which includes the most serious kinds of diagnosable mental health disorders.

Of those adults with either “perceived need” or SPD, only one in three reported visiting a mental health professional for treatment, a factor potentially attributable to fear of stigmatization, as well as lack of insurance coverage, the researchers said.

The study draws on data from the 2005 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), which is administered by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

“There’s a lot of need, but also a lot of obstacles connecting those in need to the services that can help them,” said David Grant, the study’s lead author and director of the CHIS.

“Part of the problem may be stigma. It’s hard for many Californians to acknowledge they need help — to their family, friends or their doctor. The challenge for policymakers and providers is to both target appropriate services to those with needs and to reduce fear.”

Grant noted that since the data was collected, the state has suffered an economic downturn, resulting in high unemployment.

“The recession has created even more stress for people,” he said. As a result, the study “is probably an underestimate of the true level of mental health need in California right now.”

Among the findings:

Women at risk
Women were nearly twice as likely as men (22.7 percent vs. 14.3 percent) to say they needed help for a mental or emotional health problem (“perceived need”), such as feeling sad, anxious or nervous.

Working-age adults at risk
The prevalence of perceived need was twice as high for adults under 65 as for those 65 and older (20.2 percent vs. 9.2 percent).

Income a significant factor
The poorest adults — those living below 100 percent of the federal poverty level — were much more likely to report symptoms associated with SPD than those with incomes that were even just slightly higher. The poorest were more than five times as likely to report SPD as those living at or above 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

Distress pervasive regardless of race or ethnicity
Although racial and ethnic disparities in mental health were found in the study, those differences diminished when adjusted for income. These findings suggest that mental health status is more closely related to socioeconomic status than ethnicity or place of birth.

Insurance coverage improves access to services
Adults with health insurance coverage were almost twice as likely to have received mental health services during the previous 12 months as adults without health insurance.

Stigma, cultural factors may impede access to services
Men, adults aged 65 or older, and Latino and Asian immigrant groups were far less likely to seek help with a mental health professional than other groups. The authors note that these findings suggest that stigma and cultural factors may pose a significant barrier to care.

Source: UCLA

Nearly Five Million Californians Need Mental Health Services

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Nearly Five Million Californians Need Mental Health Services. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 21, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/07/29/nearly-five-million-californians-need-mental-health-services/16186.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.