Altarum found that the highest percentage of people who go untreated for mental illness are the uninsured (65 percent) and Medicaid enrollees (49 percent). But for a substance use disorder, the percentages are higher for the privately insured (87 percent) and Medicare Advantage enrollees (80 percent).
“Substance use disorders and mental illness have been on the rise in the United States and Michigan and policymakers are looking for practical solutions. This research characterizes the unmet need and provides insight into strategies likely to be effective in closing the gap in behavioral health care,” Emily Ehrlich, director of Altarum’s Center for Behavioral Health, said in a statement.
Following are some key findings:
- 46 percent of people with anxiety disorders, 53 percent of people with depressive episodes, and 85 percent of people with alcohol use disorders are not treated for their conditions.
- A shortage of psychiatrists and other behavioral health providers limits access to services. The shortage is especially acute in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula and parts of the Upper Peninsula.
- Michigan has 11 child and adolescent psychiatrists per 100,000 people, far short of the recommended ratio of 47 to 100,000.
- Central Michigan has the largest share of untreated individuals with a mental illness (41 percent) and West Central Michigan the largest share of untreated individuals with a substance use disorder (83 percent).
The study also includes analysis of data from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which shows that cost of care, lack of transportation and public awareness and perceptions about behavioral health care are also barriers to access.
- increasing retention of behavioral health providers in Michigan
- removing restrictions on the scope of practice to fully leverage all members of the health care team
- using lay providers such as peer support specialists
- using telemedicine to reach people in rural areas those unable to travel
- expanding access to services in schools
- integrating primary care and behavioral health care delivery.