Increasing Access to Health Care Services
For the last several years, increasing rates of mental illness and barriers to treatment for adults and youth have challenged states. In response, legislatures have worked to help strengthen and align behavioral health and public health systems. Common policy actions include improving statewide data systems, promoting cross-sector engagement and partnerships, establishing spending levels and coordinating funding sources.
Now states also face adverse mental and behavioral health conditions due to COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported an increase in people presenting with symptoms of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideations and substance use due to the stress of the pandemic.
At any given time, about 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 6 youth ages 6-17 will report experiencing a mental health disorder. Mental health conditions also disproportionately affect specific populations, including youth and young adults, Hispanic people, Black people, essential workers, unpaid caregivers and rural communities.
This four-part series explores the national behavioral health landscape and a variety of state legislative actions to increase access to mental and behavioral health-related services, including preventive interventions for all ages and innovations related to suicide prevention.
This project is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of a financial assistance award totaling $200,000 with 100% funded by the CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the aurhor(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, the CDC/HHS or the U.S. government.