Accessing Care

Although the CDC recently reported that the number of uninsured Americans has dropped to an all-time low of 9 percent, people suffering from mental illness face numerous barriers to accessing quality mental healthcare. Barriers range from a critical shortage of healthcare providers to the high costs of care, all of which are worse for low-income individuals and people of color.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which recently published its 2014 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report, found that insurance coverage and patient safety increased in 2014, but few gaps in healthcare coverage and quality were addressed: for example, AHRQ found that “people in poor households generally experienced less access [to healthcare] and poorer quality.”

Adults ages 18-64 who were uninsured at the time of interview, by race/ethnicity, 2010-2014 (Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 2010-June 2014).
Adults ages 18-64 who were uninsured at the time of interview, by race/ethnicity, 2010-2014. Source: National Center for Health Statistics.

Access to treatment for mental health and substance abuse has also not improved. Nationwide, the percent of adults with major depression in the last 12 months who received treatment has remained at 68 percent from 2008-2012. The number of people ages 12 and up who needed and received treatment for drug use at a specialty facility has also held steady between 19-20.5 percent. To view state snapshots and explore the quality of your state’s healthcare compared with national rates and best-performing states, click here

Visit AHRQ's website to see how your state compares in terms of healthcare access and quality

Accessing Care for Adult AD/HD

Even if you are fortunate enough to find an accessible, affordable mental health care provider, he or she may not take the time or have sufficient skill to conduct a thorough assessment and consider all of the complex factors that influence your mental and physical health. This is why it is important to advocate for yourself and work with your mental healthcare provider to “think outside of the box” about your diagnosis and options for treatment.