We examined national trends in the receipt of specialty outpatient mental health care, using data for 2008-15 from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Between 2008-09 and 2014-15 the number of US adults who received outpatient mental health care in the specialty sector rose from 11.3 million to 13.7 million per year, representing an increase from 5.0 percent to 5.7 percent of the adult population. Among those recipients, however, the annual weighted mean number of visits to the specialty sector remained unchanged. We found increases in both numbers and percentages of adults who received care within the specialty sector across age and sex groups and among non-Hispanic whites, people with Medicare, people with private health insurance, and people with family incomes of $20,000-$49,999. Increases in receipt of specialty mental health care during 2012-15 may be related to recent policy initiatives aimed at reducing financial barriers to care.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy