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National Expenditures for Mental Health Services and Substance Abuse Treatment 1993-2003

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration


"In any given year, about six percent of adults have a serious mental disorder (Kessler et al., 2005b). A similar percentage of children—about five to nine percent—has a serious emotional disturbance (Friedman et al.,1996). More than nine percent of the population suffers from substance abuse or dependence (SAMHSA, 2005). Mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for individuals ages 15 to 44 (World Health Organization, 2004). Although a range of efficacious treatments is available to ameliorate symptoms of mental illnesses and substance use disorders (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1999), financial barriers often stand in the way of receipt of effective treatment. For example, a recent SAMHSA survey finds that among the 11 million adults who reported having unmet need for treatment for mental health problems in the past year, nearly half reported cost or insurance issues as a barrier to treatment receipt (Office of Applied Studies, In Press). Given the immense burden of disability associated with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders, it is important to know how much the United States is investing in treatment of these conditions. Moreover, because of the rapid changes occurring in treatment technologies, philosophy, organization, and financing, the extent and character of this investment should be tracked over time."

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Contributed on 8/2/2010

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