Sophie Lasswell

Publication Date



mental health, healthcare, health insurance, socioeconomic status




Despite progressive improvements in healthcare in the United States, healthcare for individuals who experience mental health issues remains financially inaccessible. For this brief, financial inaccessibility refers to an individual's inability to afford mental healthcare services, such as therapy, prescriptions, and inpatient and outpatient services. Inadequate execution of legislation, such as the Mental Health Parity and the nature of insurance coverage, contribute to inaccessible mental healthcare in the US. Additionally, the United States maintains healthcare and health insurance costs that are more expensive than comparable developed countries, which contributes to the inaccessibility of mental healthcare in the United States. As a result of this social issue, individuals experience poorer mental and physical health outcomes with lifelong impacts. Furthermore, because access to mental healthcare helps to reduce suicide frequency, financial inhibitions to accessing mental healthcare exacerbate suicide rates. Finally, the widespread inaccessibility of mental healthcare contributes to high economic costs nationally and globally, as well as to individual consumers. Efforts such as safety net hospitals, which predominantly serve low-income individuals, may help alleviate this issue. However, due to their financial and resource challenges, safety-net hospitals may not survive in the coming years.