Romanoff: Coloradans weigh in on barriers to mental health care

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By on June 23, 2016

Original Article Published on ColoradoStatesman.com

 

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More than one million Coloradans experience a mental health or substance-use disorder each year. Only 40 percent receive treatment.

What stops so many Coloradans from getting the mental health care they need? And what can we do about it?

Mental Health Colorado — the state’s leading advocate for the prevention and treatment of mental illness – is taking those questions on the road. As part of our statewide listening tour — “A Conversation with Colorado” – we convened public forums in Pueblo on March 30 and Greeley on May 24. (We head to Fort Collins on June 28; details are available at mentalhealthcolorado.org).

Here are some of the findings we’ve gathered so far:

1) Cost poses one of the biggest barriers to mental health care. More than 60 percent of the respondents in Pueblo and Greeley — and nearly as many in the statewide Colorado Health Access Survey — cited “concern about the cost of treatment” as the reason they (or someone they knew) didn’t get the care they needed.

2) A lack of insurance remains a significant barrier to care. While the percentage of uninsured Coloradans has fallen dramatically in recent years, two-thirds of the respondents in the statewide survey, as well as a majority of the participants at our Pueblo forum, listed a lack of insurance among the obstacles to mental health care.

3) Stigma continues to stop many Coloradans from getting the mental health care they need. Fully 40 percent of the statewide respondents, and similar percentages in Pueblo and Greeley, said they (or someone they knew) “did not feel comfortable talking about personal problems with a health professional.”

 

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A Conversation with Colorado

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