Trends in Receipt of Mental Health Treatments Among Adults in the United States, 2008–2013

Objective: This study examined trends in the 12-month prevalence of receiving mental health treatments among adults 18 years or older and among different generational cohorts in the United States between 2008 and 2013.

Methods: We examined data from 274,900 persons 18 years or older who participated in the 2008–2013 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (then linked to the 2011–2014 Area Health Resources Files at the county level). Multivariable logistic regressions were applied to assess trends in the model-adjusted prevalence of receiving mental health treatments.

Results: Between 2008 and 2013, the 12-month prevalence of mental illness (MI) remained stable in adults 18 years or older in the United States and in each of the examined generational cohorts. Receipt of psychotropic medications without inpatient or outpatient treatment increased in the overall adult population, baby boomers with MI, and Generation X with MI. The increase was 23.8% (6.3% to 7.8%, P < .001) among all adults, 28.4% (20.4% to 26.2%, P = .010) among baby boomers with MI, and 34.7% (14.7% to 19.8%, P = .001) among Generation X with MI. Among the Silent Generation with MI, receipt of mental health treatments remained unchanged.

Conclusions: The prevalence of receiving psychotropic medications without inpatient or outpatient treatment increased among the overall adult population, baby boomers with MI, and Generation X with MI between 2008 and 2013. With the ongoing mental health parity and health reform efforts, further studies are warranted to monitor trends in mental health treatment in these populations.

J Clin Psychiatry 2016;77(10):1365–1371

https://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.15m09982