Majority of U.S. Adults Give Health Care System a 'D' for Handling Mental Health

Cost, finding a provider, and stigma are top barriers to receiving treatment
Majority of U.S. Adults Give Health Care System a 'D' for Handling Mental Health
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WEDNESDAY, May 8, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Three-quarters of U.S. adults believe mental health issues are identified and treated worse than physical health issues, according to the results of a survey released by West Health and Gallup.

The web survey was conducted Feb. 2 to 14 and included 2,266 U.S. adults. Fifty-one percent of survey respondents report having experienced depression, anxiety, or some other mental or emotional condition in the previous 12 months. Most adults think mental health is treated worse than physical health, with 38 percent saying mental health issues are handled "much worse" and 37 percent saying "somewhat worse" than physical health issues. For the ability to address mental health issues, only 1 percent of U.S. adults give the health system an A grade and 8 percent give it a B grade, while 57 percent give it a D and 32 percent an F. The top three barriers to obtaining treatment for a mental or emotional health condition include affordability (52 percent), difficulty in finding a provider (42 percent), and stigma. 

"Many Americans struggle with mental and behavioral health conditions that often go unaddressed in the context of treating and managing other medical conditions," Timothy Lash, president of West Health, said in a statement. "Health systems, providers, caregivers, and patients themselves need to pay just as much attention to mental health as they grow older as they do their physical health. The two are inextricably linked and critical to overall health, aging successfully, and quality of life."

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