A survey conducted by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2017 revealed that, the estimated 56.9 million US adults with a behavioral health condition, 7 out of 10 or 39.7 million adults don’t receive treatment for their conditions.
92% of adults with substance use conditions are not receiving treatment and care. People suffering from serious mental illness or other mental illnesses, the rates of non-treatment are 33% and 65% respectively.
This survey points out many reasons behind individuals not receiving treatment, including lack of perceiving a need for treatment, cost, stigma and challenges to accessing care.
A follow-up report was published earlier this year by the Government Accountability Office. It investigated the link between untreated behavioral health conditions and other healthcare costs.
The author reviewed 29 studies comparing healthcare costs associated with treating and not treating certain behavior health conditions in adults. It was found that majority (20) showed higher overall healthcare costs associated with untreated adults.
Six studies revealed lower healthcare costs associated with untreated adults. Three showed either mixed results or no observable difference. However, the report observed that available research in this area is limited due to methodological challenges, including determining which healthcare costs can be attributed to an untreated behavioral condition.
But it is true that people suffering from behavioral health conditions and mental illness need care and most of them are not receiving it. Lack of care or no care adversely impacts their health.