At USofCare, we believe that people’s wellbeing encompasses both physical and mental health.
Mental health challenges are pervasive with the CDC estimating more than 50% of Americans being diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder in their lifetime. However, it is also estimated that fewer than half of people with a mental illness receive treatment.
Why Mental Health is a Priority
A recent USofCare national survey demonstrated that 83% of voters want elected officials to prioritize expanding access to mental health resources and 86% placing importance on making mental health resources more affordable. The pandemic has magnified the importance of mental health and increased the burden on our already strained system, which will continue long after COVID-19 is under control.
Though demand for mental health care continues to grow, the American mental health care delivery system is underprepared for response. Moreover, non-white communities weren’t equitably receiving needed care before the pandemic, and the current crisis continues to disproportionately impact the same populations; they include Black, Hispanic, Latino, several Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, and Native American people, as well as those of us that have disabilities or experience homelessness. As investments, partnerships, and reform efforts build, it will be essential to focus on traditionally underserved populations. It is also critical to ensure that when behavioral health care is delivered virtually, it provides effective, timely, and quality care — including treatment for mental health and substance use disorder.
One of the most important steps we can take now to help people receive the mental health treatment they need is to make sure insurance coverage treats physical and mental health equally. This includes enforcing existing laws and mental health parity protections.
USofCare is working to make sure that people across the country can access the mental health care they need, when and how they need it – we do this by listening to people’s needs. We know we must ensure people can afford and depend on their health coverage, and that our health care system recognizes that our mental health is just as important as our physical health.
Mental health is central to our mission and we are actively working in states to help advance parity, coverage and access to mental health treatment. We are integrating mental health and wellbeing across our work by actively partnering with organizations such as Well Being Trust to raise public awareness about the need to integrate mental health throughout our system.
Our current initiatives include:
- Identifying and sharing state-level best practices for meeting mental health needs.
- Listening to people and conducting formal public opinion research to better understand the solutions that will help get them the mental health care they need.
- Recommending federal policy actions and investments that strengthen and build the mental health workforce.
- Supporting state-based advocates seeking to raise awareness and advocate for solutions that increase access and parity in mental health care.