Mental Health Chartbook: Tracking the Well-being of People with Mental Health Challenges

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This report is an update of Mental Health Chartbook: Tracking the Well-being of People with Mental Illness (2008) by Sherry Glied, Health Policy and Management Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and Richard Frank Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School. The funding for this chartbook was provided by the MacArthur Foundation. Yumiko Aratani, Shannon Stagman, Christel Brellochs from NCCP and Nick Tilipman from Cornell University have contributed to the updates of this chartbook.

About This Chartbook

This chartbook documents the prevalence of mental health problems and illness, patterns of treatment and service use, cost of mental health care and quality of care, and life measures for children, adults and the elderly in the United States from the mid-1990s to 2008. Trends are also examined across different racial/ethnic groups and income levels. The data are compiled from nine different national and local surveys.

Key findings are:

  • Increasing rates of emergency room visits by children with mental health problems.
  • Problems in access to and affordability of care among people with mental health functional limitations.
  • Overall increases in the rate of mental health problems among children and in the rates of mental health diagnosis among adults and seniors.
  • Reductions in mental health out-of-pocket expenses for all age groups.
  • The proportion of inpatient hospitalization among people with a mental health diagnosis has remained stable over time.
  • The proportion of psychiatrists participating in insurance programs has remained steady and shows a slight increase in the recent years.
  • The share of people with social security disability insurance (SSDI) due to mental illness has remained stable over time.
  • Continued growth in the number of people with mental illness incarcerated in jails and prisons.

List of Data Sources

This chartbook was complied based on the following nine national and local survey data.

  • Medical Expenditure Panel Study (MEPS)
  • National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)
  • National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS)
  • National Hospital Discharge Survey (NHDS)
  • The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD): Detailed statistics on revenues and spending for mental health services by state mental health agencies
  • Social Security Insurance/Social Security Disability Insurance (SSI/SSDI): The Social Security Administration publishes annual data on enrollment by illness in SSI/DI, spending by benefciary according to type of disabling illness
  • Medicaid (Florida, national drug files)
  • HUD assessment data
  • Bureau of Justice Statistics

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