When you think about California, what comes to mind? Redwood trees? Long, sandy stretches of beach? More days of sun than you can count on both hands? Disneyland? Hollywood?
California is full of all sorts of people, places and things, but the Golden State would have little recognition or development if it weren’t for the people who thrive within its borders. These are the laborers, farmers, celebrities, businessmen, businesswomen and more who work to help California be the wonderful place it is today. Sadly, many of California’s residents of all races, ethnicities and ages are suffering because of mental health problems. Around one in every six Californians has a mental health issue with every one in 20 suffering from a serious mental illness such as depression, anxiety or schizophrenia. Even every one in 13 children in California has a mental illness that limits his or her participation in daily activities.
In an effort to understand the struggle of the state’s residents, data ranging from 2008 to 2010 was collected and compiled into a report called “Mental Health Care in California: Painting a Picture” to provide a powerful overview of the state of mental illnesses and treatment in California.
California’s mental health
According to the report, at least half of the adults and two-thirds of the adolescents in the state have a mental health need that they haven’t received treatment for. This means that about 4.3 percent of adults in California have a serious mental illness. That percentage is also affected by the rate of serious emotional disturbances and adverse experiences that these adults may have suffered as adolescents, which lead to mental illness. The report also found among the California population with mental illness, 3.6 percent were male and 4.9 percent were female with the highest rate of mental illness (6.2 percent) occurring between the ages of 35 to 44. The occurrence of serious mental illness in California adults seemed to have increased steadily up to this age group, but after the age of 44, it seemed to decrease again. The rate of serious mental illness is also the highest among low-income families in California normally averaging $10,830 per year.
In addition to this, depression is one of the most common mental illnesses that many of these individuals suffer from. In California alone, the rate of depression has risen from 5.5 percent in 2005-2006 to six percent in 2008-2009. However, the suicide rate has not increased along with the occurrence rate for depression though it continues to affect 10.3 percent of the population.
Mental health treatment in California
While California is not plagued by the occurrence of mental illness it is still a prevalent issue throughout the state. After learning how many Californians are affected by mental illness, one may ask how California is reacting. Sadly, as is too often the case in any parts of the U.S., many people with mental illness do not receive the treatment they need. At least 60 percent of Californian adults with any mental illness and about 40 percent of those with a serious mental illness did not receive outpatient or inpatient care or medication treatment that would have addressed their problem. On average, 23 percent of individuals with a mental health problem received minimally adequate treatment, 25 percent received some treatment and an entire 52 percent received no treatment. This is a disheartening fact when considering that a lack of treatment can increases a person’s chances of attempting suicide.
Treating mental health in California
With the prevalence of serious mental health problems in California in both adults and adolescents, treatment is vital. Thankfully, California has been attempting to invest more into providing services for those in need of help for mental health, but many individuals are still going untreated. Much of this is due to a lack of resources and funding. By increasing the availability of these services and providing affordable access to them, Californians with mental health issues will be able to get the treatment they need. This can be done by providing more research to health care providers and insurance companies who can pass it along to those in need.
Sovereign Health is proud to be one of the many organizations providing help for those Californians in need of mental health treatment. To learn more about mental health treatment you can visit prod.sovcal.com or call (866) 819-0427 for more information.
Written by Brianna Gibbons, Sovereign Health Content writer