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Mental Health Status and Use of Mental Health Services by California Adults

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Publication Date: July 2010

Publisher(s): UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

Author(s): David Grant

Topic: Health (Mental health)
Health (Health services for women)
Health (Health services for the chronically ill)
Health (Health services for low income people)
Health (Health services for men)

Keywords: mental health; california; services

Coverage: California


This policy brief, based on data from the 2005 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS 2005), presents a comprehensive overview of mental health status and service use in California, and highlights differences by age, gender, race/ethnicity, income and insurance status. The authors find that nearly one in five adults in California, about 4.9 million persons, said they needed help for a mental or emotional health problem. Approximately one in 25, or over one million Californians, reported symptoms associated with serious psychological distress (SPD).1 Of those adults with either perceived need or SPD, only one in three reported visiting a mental health professional for treatment.

Mental health status was also closely linked to income and was pervasive regardless of race/ethnicity. Although mental health services can be effective, there were significant barriers to access to care, including fear of stigma as well as lack of insurance.


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