When people in psychiatric crisis land in emergency rooms and jails, it’s frequently because because they can’t get treatment in the community—even when they ask for it.
California lags behind the rest of the country: 37 percent of Californian adults with mental illness received mental health services during the past year, compared to a national average of almost 43 percent.
It’s a problem even for those who have been so sick that they were hospitalized: Among those who have Medi-Cal, close to a quarter of children, and more than a third of adults, weren’t able to access outpatient services within a month of being discharged from a hospital.
Privately insured people face barriers to treatment, too. California patients in 2015 were more than seven times as likely to get treatment for mental health and addiction from providers outside their insurance plan’s network as patients who were seeking medical or surgical care.