What is it?
Behavioral health needs are worsening. There was a 28.5% increase in drug overdose deaths during the 12-month period ending in April 2021 compared to the previous year.
The pandemic and its ripple effects only exacerbated an existing crisis in the U.S. The behavioral health care sector struggles with a unique "meta" inequity that makes progress intractable:
- Inter-sector inequities: Regardless of demographic group, patients with behavioral health conditions experience unique inequities in access and outcomes compared to patients with only physical health conditions. For example, Americans with depression, bipolar disorder, or other serious mental illnesses die 15-30 years younger than those without mental illness.1
- Intra-sector inequities: Within the behavioral health sector, certain demographic groups experience worse outcomes than others—often patients of color, those with low incomes and insufficient insurance coverage, and/or those with serious mental illness diagnoses.
1 The New York Times.