In 2003, an estimated 27.3 million U.S. adults reported receiving mental health treatment in the past year. Women represented more than two-thirds of users of mental health services. The most common type of treatment obtained by adults was prescription medication, followed by outpatient treatment. Nearly 16.5 million women and 6.8 million men used prescription medication for treatment of a mental or emotional condition.

Mental health services are needed, but not received, by millions of adults in this country. Those with serious mental illness are in particular need of services. In 2003, of the 12.7 million women aged 18 or older who reported having a serious mental illness in the past year, nearly one-half (6.1 million women) did not report receiving any type of mental health treatment or counseling. When asked to define their own perceived unmet need, 30.1 percent of adults with serious mental illness reported an unmet need for treatment or counseling for problems with emotions, nerves or mental health. Cost was the reason most often cited for not receiving needed mental health treatment.

Graph: Adults Receiving Mental Health Treatment by Sex and Treatment/Counseling Type[d]