Survey shows Americans back mental health coverage

Survey shows Americans back mental health coverage

Mental illness is a growing health concern in the United States. The 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) estimated 43.4 million adults (17.9 percent) aged 18 and above to be suffering from some or the other type of mental illness. Moreover, approximately 9.8 million adults (4 percent) aged 18 and above experienced “severe mental illness” that disrupted their day-to-day activities.

The increased awareness about mental disorders among Americans due to their first-hand experience and significant efforts of law enforcement agencies have created a sea change in their perception about mental disorders. A majority of people see mental illnesses as a serious problem that needs effective treatment.

Republicans and Democrats too support mental health issues under insurance

According to the results of a national poll released by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), both Republicans and Democrats are equally supportive of having mental health covered under health insurance (77 percent of all Americans). The respondents of the survey included 1,019 adults from a nationally representative sample.

Most Americans were of the opinion that private health insurance offered through an employer or union should also cover mental health (76 percent Democrats and 81 percent Republicans). Moreover, 51 percent of the respondents expressed that all forms of health insurance should cover mental health, be it self-purchased insurance or insurance purchased through other bodies.

One can purchase insurance from the Health Care Exchange or Marketplace, Medicaid, Medicare and other government-based sources (such as Veterans Benefits Administration). While 55 percent of Democrats extended support to the above contention, 51 percent Republicans supported the idea. More than the millennials, support for mental health coverage came more from baby boomers.

Cumbersome insurance process poses hurdles to mental health recovery

About half of the respondents admitted that their mental health insurance coverage varied between somewhat adequate to adequate, but what was worrisome was to note that over one-fourth of the respondents were not aware about the details of their coverage. A fairly consistent number of people, irrespective of their age, income, race/ethnicity or party affiliation, represented this group.

Many participants found the entire process of accessing mental health care challenging, with less than 50 percent adults feeling confident about the processes involved. Due to the pressure on men to not appear vulnerable under any circumstance, they were less comfortable in seeking mental health care compared to women (37 percent men vis-à-vis 50 percent women).

Although most of the respondents (four out of five) were equally concerned about their family’s physical and mental health and could recognize that overall health depended on both, 69 percent of the respondents did not trust that the state policymakers would give priority to mental health.

Live life to the fullest

While America has seen great progress in recent years in terms of expansion and improvement of mental health coverage, the bill American Health Care Act (AHCA) is being viewed as regressive due to the chances of elimination of insurance coverage and reduction in Medicaid expansion that was encouraged under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). According to Saul Levin, M.D., CEO, APA, this will drastically reduce health care access to 1.3 million Americans with serious mental illness and the 2.8 million Americans with substance use disorders (SUD).

Mental health is as important as physical health and the two are connected in many ways. If you or your loved one is witnessing the symptoms of any mental health disorder, contact the Texas Depression Treatment Help where qualified medical representatives can decide on a treatment plan according to your needs. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-827-0282 or chat online with our representatives to know more about depression treatment centers in Texas.