Mental healthcare access a challenge
By Jessica Coleman
It is estimated that over six million Texans live with a diagnosable mental illness that would benefit from treatment of some kind. Almost two million Texans live with what the Mental Health America calls a “serious and persistent mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.” The need for more access to mental healthcare has been a longstanding issue, but the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the problem with isolation being cited as a main contributor to worsening mental health by many.
The most common mental illnesses are anxiety disorders, which affect 40 million adults across the United States, only 36% of whom receive the necessary treatment, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Mood disorders such as major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder also affect numerous Americans, with an estimated 10 percent of the population suffering from some sort of mood disorder. Major depressive disorder is the number one cause of disability for people aged 15-44, according to the Community Health Network.
Psychotic disorders and substance abuse disorders also plague many Americans, and for a large population, the problem is multiplied, as it is incredibly common for one person to live with anxiety and depression, or some other combination of multiple mental health struggles.
In Texas, getting help is easier said than done, according to Mental Health America, who ranks the state 50th out of 51 for access to mental health care. In rural communities like Jackson County, barriers to healthcare can be things like provider shortages, anonymity concerns, lack of access to transportation, and of course, an inability to pay.
If you have mental health needs that you’re facing barriers to access care for, go to www.mentalhealthtx.org to weigh your options.