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Tackling America’s Behavioral Health Crisis 

Fifty-two million adults in the U.S.—or 1 in 5 adults—have a mental health condition, 19 million have substance use disorder, and 9.5 million have both. Yet, alarmingly, less than half of adults with mental health conditions received services in 2019, and the percentage was even lower in Black and Latino communities, and in rural areas. Nearly 90% of people with a substance use disorder did not receive treatment. During the pandemic, the problem worsened as the need for services increased while the availability of those services remained low. As a result, drug overdose deaths outpaced all previous records, and symptoms of anxiety and depression in adults doubled.

Addressing this challenge—one deeply rooted in the existing health care delivery system—will take time and bipartisanship. BPC’s previous work on addressing the opioid crisis, strengthening behavioral health integration with primary care, and establishing the nation’s mental health crisis response system uniquely positions us to bring together both sides of the aisle to develop actionable solutions.

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