Mental Health Care Utilization

In 2006, more than 28 million adults in the United States reported receiving mental health treatment in the past year. Women represented two-thirds of users of mental health services, including inpatient and outpatient care and prescription medications. More than 16 million women reported using prescription medication for treatment of a mental or emotional condition, representing 14.2 percent of women aged 18 and older, compared to 7.2 percent of men. Outpatient treatment was reported by 8.4 percent of women, and inpatient treatment was reported by 0.7 percent of women.

Mental health services were needed, but not received, by an estimated 10 million adults in the United States. In 2006, 5.9 percent of women and 3.2 percent of men reported an unmet need for mental health treatment or counseling. Cost or lack of adequate insurance coverage was the most commonly reported reason for not receiving needed services, reported by 50.1 percent of women and 43.7 percent of men with unmet mental health treatment needs. Others mentioned feeling that they could handle their problems without treatment (reported by 28.5 percent of women and 33.3 percent of men with unmet needs). In addition, stigma, including concern about confidentiality or the opinions of others, or the potential effect on employment, prevented 20.4 percent of women and 29.6 percent of men with unmet needs from receiving treatment.

Among women, unmet need for treatment varied by race and ethnicity. Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native women were most likely to report an unmet need for treatment (8.2 percent), followed by non-Hispanic White women (6.4 percent). Additionally, 4.7 percent of non-Hispanic Black women, and 4.1 percent of Hispanic women had an unmet need for treatment. Asian/Pacific Islander women were least likely to report an unmet need for mental health treatment (3.6 percent; data not shown).

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