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CDC Study Shows 1 in 5 Adults Sought Mental Health Treatment in 2020

Oct 21, 2021, 12:27 PM by MSDC Staff
There was a slight increase in adults seeking mental health treatment from 2019-2020, with women much more likely to seek treatment.


Considering the stress on society and healthcare in 2020, it should come as no surprise that American adults were more likely to seek mental health treatment last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The survey data came from the annual National Health Interview Survey. NHIS is, "a nationally representative household survey of the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population. It is conducted continuously throughout the year by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Interviews are typically conducted in respondents’ homes, but follow-ups to complete interviews may be conducted over the telephone."

The survey found that 20.3% of respondents had received mental health treatment in the past 12 months, including 16.5% who had taken medication for their mental health and 10.1% who received counseling. That is a slight increase from 2019 when 19.2% of adults sought treatment, 15.8% took prescription medication, and 9.5% received counseling or therapy. 

The survey also divided the respondents by different demographic types:

  • The age 18-44 age demographic was most likely to seek mental health treatment, but the age 45-64 demographic was more likely to specifically seek prescription treatment.
  • Women were more likely than men to seek mental healthy treatment, 25.6% to 14.6%
  • Non-Hispanic white adults were most likely to receive mental health treatment ( 24.4%) versus non-Hispanic Black (15.3%), Hispanic (12.6%) and non-Hispanic Asian (7.7%)
  • Respondents were more likely to seek mental health treatment the more rural their place of residence is, but the respondents most likely to seek counseling were large metropolitan dwellers.

You can read the data and summary here.