U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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Mental Health Care Utilization

In 2007, more than 29 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. Nearly 17 million women reported using prescription medication for treatment of a mental or emotional condition, representing 14.5 percent of women aged 18 and older, almost twice the rate among men (7.5 percent). Outpatient treatment was reported by 9.0 percent of women, and inpatient treatment was reported by 0.9 percent of women.

In 2007, mental health services were needed, but not received, by an estimated 11 million adults in the United States. Nearly 7 percent of women and 3.1 percent of men reported an unmet need for mental health treatment or counseling in the past year. Cost or lack of adequate insurance coverage was the most commonly reported reason for not receiving needed services, reported by 50.7 percent of women and 47.5 percent of men with unmet mental health treatment needs. The next most commonly reported reasons among women were feeling that they could handle their problems without treatment (29.5 percent) and fear of stigma, including concerns about confidentiality or the opinions of others, or the potential effect on employment (21.5 percent). Not knowing where to go for services prevented 13.6 percent of women from receiving needed treatment.

Among women, unmet need for treatment varied by race and ethnicity. Non-Hispanic women of multiple races were most likely to report an unmet need for treatment (13.9 percent), followed by non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native women (7.4 and 6.6 percent, respectively). Additionally, 5.9 percent of non-Hispanic Black women and 5.2 percent of Hispanic women had an unmet need for treatment. Non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander women were least likely to report an unmet need for mental health treatment (3.2 percent; data not shown).

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