For the first time, the 2013 CHAS asked Coloradans questions about their mental health and their access to mental health care. These questions are especially important as the link between mental health and overall health becomes increasingly apparent and the integration of primary and behavioral health care is explored by Colorado’s providers.
The 2013 CHAS reveals that 25 percent – one of four – Coloradans reported experiencing one or more days of poor mental health during the 30 days before the survey. Poor mental health was defined as having eight or more days of stress, depression or problems with emotions during one month.
Nearly eight percent of Coloradans said they needed mental health services or counseling services in the 12 months before the survey, but did not get them. The most frequently cited reasons for not receiving care are related to cost. Additionally, nearly one of three (31.0 percent) who did not get needed mental health services responded that it was due to feeling uncomfortable talking about personal problems with a health professional.
With mental health and substance abuse disorder services now defined as essential health benefits in the ACA, the Colorado Health Institute will continue to follow trends in access to mental health care. Check out the blog written by my colleague, Kevin Butcher, for more about mental health policy. Visit our CHAS page for more on mental health status and access to care in Colorado.