The percentage of young American adults receiving mental health treatment increased by nearly 5% from 2019 to 2021, according to data from the National Health Interview Survey.
Overall, the proportion of adults receiving mental health treatment – defined as receiving counselling, therapy, taking medication or any combination of the three – fell from 19.2% in 2019 to 21.6% d by 2021, reported Emily P. Terlizzi, MPH, and Jeannine S. Schiller, MPH, of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) in Hyattsville, Maryland.
However, this appears to be due to an increase in mental health treatment for young adults aged 18-44, whose mental health treatment rates increased from 18.5% in 2019 to 23.2% in 2021.
“Previous search found that symptoms of an anxiety disorder or depressive disorder increased from 2020 to early 2021, particularly among young adults,” the researchers wrote.
Treatment rates appeared to hold for adults aged 45 to 64 (20.2% versus 21.2%) and those 65 and older (19.4% versus 18.9%).
The Summary of NCHS data also found that women were significantly more likely to seek and receive mental health treatment than men at any time in recent years:
- 2019: 13.1% men versus 23.8% women
- 2020: 15.8% men versus 26% women
- 2021: 17.8% men versus 28.6% women
When the data was disaggregated by race, non-Hispanic white adults were much more likely to receive any type of mental health treatment in recent years (23.8% in 2019 and 30.4% in 2021). In contrast, rates were lowest for Asian adults in all years, but nearly doubled from 6% in 2019 to 10.8% in 2021. Mental health treatment rates fluctuated slightly for Black adults , rising from a nadir of 12.4% in 2019 and peaking at 17% in 2020 before declining a little to 14.8% by 2021. Hispanic adults experienced relatively stable rates of mental health treatment in recent years, by 11.7% in 2019 and by 12.8% in 2021.
Urbanity does not seem to play too large a role in terms of access to mental health treatment, as rates have increased significantly in recent years in all types of metropolises. Rates were highest for residents of non-metropolitan areas (20% in 2019 vs. 25.2% in 2021), but were also quite high for residents of medium or small metro areas (21.1% vs. 24.6 %) and large metropolitan areas (16.8% versus 22.2%). %).
Mental health treatment has been defined as taking medication for feelings of anxiety or depression or to help with any other emotion or with their concentration, behavior or mental health, or receiving counseling or therapy from a mental health professional within the previous 12 months.