Access to mental health, use worse among low-income workers
The pandemic has not only strained our health care system, but has pushed an already failing mental health care system to the brink. Because many Americans struggle with stress, isolation, and mental health issues, some are in a better position to get the help they need.
As in other areas of health care, there are significant disparities in access between different economic and racial groups. Adding to the complexity is the stigma associated with mental illness, which also varies among ethnic groups.
Related: To Improve Health Outcomes, Address Health Equity
Unfortunately, the problem is somewhat of a trap: Financial instability is a major cause of stress among workers, but low-income workers also find it more difficult to provide the help they need. According to a survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Big Health, only 54% of people earning less than $ 30,000 a year say they have access to the mental health support they need. Among those earning more than $ 150,000, that number jumps to 76%.
“Although we have made significant strides in standardizing mental health care, stigma and costs continue to be a significant barrier for those seeking support, especially among underserved populations,” said the Minister. Big Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jenna Carl. “Going forward, it is critical that we focus on improving equity in mental health by providing clinical approaches to those who may not otherwise have access to care. “
According to the survey, working poor are twice as likely to postpone mental health care because of the cost. In addition, nearly a third (30%) turn to self-medication to cope with their stress, including 19% who consume alcohol.
“We have seen a dramatic increase in demand for non-drug alternatives for mental health in the wake of the pandemic. If there has been a bright side in the past year and a half, it is the collective realization that we need to increase access to evidence-based mental health care for those who need it, ”said Peter Hames, co-founder and CEO of Big Health.
Check out the slides above to dig deeper into America’s mental health disparities.