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Behavioral Healthcare


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Nearly 1 in 5 Californians Report Need for Mental Health Services

In a comprehensive new study on mental health status and the use of mental health services by Californians, researchers at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research found that nearly one in five adults in the state — about 4.9 million people — said they needed help for a mental or emotional health problem. In addition, approximately one in 25 — 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 also found that:

  • Women were nearly twice as likely as men (22.7 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.
  • The prevalence of perceived need was twice as high for adults under 65 as for those 65 and older (20.2 vs. 9.2 percent).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

According to David Grant, the study’s lead author and director of the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), since the data was collected, California has suffered an economic downturn, resulting in high unemployment. “The recession has created even more stress for people,” said Grant. As a result, the study “is probably an underestimate of the true level of mental health needs in California right now.”


Source: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, July 28, 2010

Managing Behavioral Healthcare, 3rd Edition

This 424-page manual provides behavioral health medical review policies, ‘benefit interpretations’ criteria, benchmarks and guidelines for inpatient, day hospital, residential and outpatient care. A practical model for a quality-based and cost-effective care management approach as well as coverage determinations. The manual also contains numerous policies, procedures, tools and forms vital to prepare for accreditation or certification surveys and strategies for quality-based efficient delivery of integrated behavioral healthcare. This manual is updated annually.

Managing Behavioral Healthcare, 3rd Edition is available from the Healthcare Intelligence Network for $289 by visiting our Online Bookstore or by calling toll-free (888) 446-3530.

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IMPORTANT NOTICE: This information is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information on the business of healthcare. It is distributed with the understanding that Healthcare Intelligence Network is not engaged in rendering legal advice. If legal advice is required, the services of a competent professional should be retained.

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