Mental health and substance use disorders are key public health issues and have received increased national attention in recent years. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, a growing share of people report poor mental health and deaths due to drug overdose have reached record highs. Alongside these worsening issues, challenges with accessing mental health and substance use services have persisted. Poor mental health and barriers to care can vary geographically and by population characteristics. This page highlights relevant findings on the mental health landscape, including state-level data and analyses at the demographic level.

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Examining Prior Authorization in Health Insurance

This post explains what’s known about how insurers use prior authorization as a tool to control costs and encourage cost-effective care, the state and federal laws that govern it, and ongoing policy debates over efforts to impose standards to limit or regulate its use.

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April 26 Web Event: The Future of Mental Health Coverage & Access

 Increased social isolation, stress, and unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to a rise in mental health issues and substance use disorders (SUD) in the U.S. The impact of the pandemic has been particularly concerning for kids, as KFF’s most recent COVID Vaccine Monitor reported…

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KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: Views On The Pandemic At Two Years

A new KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor finds as many restrictions are being lifted, most of the public say they have personally returned to doing some of their pre-pandemic activities, but not all. In addition, majorities still report wearing masks in public indoor areas, but the public is split on whether the transportation mask mandate should continue. The pandemic has had a heavy toll on mental health, both for adults and their children, with people citing lack of human interaction and financial struggles as challenges over the last two years.

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How Does Use of Mental Health Care Vary by Demographics and Health Insurance Coverage?

This analysis finds that before the pandemic, millions of adults reporting moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety and/or depression were not receiving treatment. Receipt of mental health treatment was lowest among young adults, Black adults, men, and uninsured people.

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California Efforts to Address Behavioral Health and SDOH: A Look at Whole Person Care Pilots

As California ramps up its CalAIM initiative, the state will incorporate and transition its Whole Person Care pilot program’s services statewide through the state’s Medicaid managed care system. This brief examines the lessons from those pilots in coordinating and integrating physical health, behavioral health, and social services.

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A Snapshot of Mental Health and Access to Care Among Nonelderly Adults in California

The COVID-19 pandemic has coincided with worsening mental health across the country, and California is no exception. This data note find that in California in 2020, many nonelderly adults experienced poor mental health and did not receive needed care.

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Telehealth Continues to Account for More Than a Third of Outpatient Visits for Mental Health and Substance Use Services Well into the COVID-19 Pandemic

A new analysis from KFF and Epic Research finds that telehealth visits for outpatient mental health and substance use services went from virtually zero percent in 2019 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic to a peak of 40% in mid-2020 – and continued to account for more than a third (36%)…

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Telehealth Has Played an Outsized Role Meeting Mental Health Needs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This analysis from KFF and Epic Research finds that telehealth visits for outpatient mental health and substance use services went from virtually zero percent in 2019 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic to a peak of 40% in mid-2020 – and continued to account for more than a third of such visits in the six months ending in August 2021.

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What to Watch in Medicaid Section 1115 Waivers One Year into the Biden Administration

Section 1115 demonstration waivers provide states an avenue to test new approaches in Medicaid and generally reflect changing priorities from one presidential administration to another. This issue brief summarizes waiver priorities and actions under the Biden Administration as well as pending waiver themes and other issues to watch. If the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) fails to pass or is narrowed significantly, Medicaid waivers and other administrative actions may be a key tool for the Biden Administration to advance policy priorities absent legislation.

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Mental Health and Substance Use State Fact Sheets

This analysis and series of state fact sheets examine data looking at mental health and substance use disorder across states and capacity to meet residents’ during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.