Therapy in America 2004 Poll Shows: Mental Health Treatment Goes Mainstream

* A surprising number of Americans receive help; report satisfaction

with treatment



* More than one-third of those who need treatment do not receive it



* Prescription medication is the predominant type of mental health

treatment



* Stigma is down but not out



May 05, 2004, 01:00 ET from PacifiCare Behaviorial Health, Inc.

     WASHINGTON, May 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- More than one in four
 American adults has received treatment for a mental health problem in the past
 two years, via talk therapy, medication, or a combination of the two,
 according to Therapy in America 2004, a new Harris Interactive(R) poll.  This
 groundbreaking survey is the first of its kind to examine consumer trends and
 attitudes in mental health treatment.
     The study was conducted this March using a nationwide phone survey of 501
 adults and a follow-up online survey of 1,731 people known to have needed or
 received treatment.  Psychology Today, its online Therapy Directory, and
 PacifiCare Behavioral Health, a national behavioral health care organization,
 were its sponsors.
 
     Among the key findings:
 
      *  Mental health treatment has become an important part of American life.
         27% of adults, or an estimated 59 million people, have received
         treatment in the past two years.  Of these, the large majority reports
         high levels of efficacy and satisfaction, regardless of the type of
         treatment received.
 
      *  More than one in three who need treatment are not getting it.  The
         leading barriers to receiving care include cost, lack of confidence
         that treatment helps, and lack of health insurance.
 
      *  81% of those with a treatment history report taking a prescription
         medication.  47% have used medication alone, 34% have used drugs and
         psychotherapy, and 19% have received psychotherapy only.
 
      *  Consumers lack key information for selecting a therapist.  Respondents
         seeking a therapist make their choice based on physician
         recommendations, their health plan's network and geographic
         considerations, with little opportunity to learn in advance about the
         therapist's personal style or listening skills -- the factors that
         they identify as being most associated with successful therapy.
 
      Mental Health Care is Widespread and Widely Accepted; Americans Who
 Receive Treatment Are Overwhelmingly Satisfied.
     If you are not in treatment, chances are you're sitting next to someone
 who is.  From co-workers to family members, a substantial number of Americans
 have friends or loved ones who have received talk therapy or medication.
 Respondents also believe that many of their closest associates and kin would
 benefit from treatment.
 
      *  In the last two years, 27% of the general adult population has either
         seen a mental health professional for therapy or taken a prescription
         medication for a personal, emotional or mental health problem.
 
      *  80% of those who have received treatment have found it effective.
 
      *  85% report that they are satisfied with treatment, and more than half
         (54%) are either very or extremely satisfied.
 
      *  Women are disproportionately represented among those likely to have
         needed treatment (making up 58% of the total), as well as among those
         who have received it.  Of the group that has received treatment, women
         make up 63%, versus 37% for men.
 
      *  Almost half of those surveyed (49%) know someone who has been in
         treatment, and almost two-thirds (61%) say they do not view the choice
         to receive therapy as a sign of character weakness.
 
      *  Almost four out of five (79%) respondents believe that if a co-worker
         were in therapy it would make no difference in his/her ability to do
         the job.  7% of respondents say it would actually make the co-worker
         better able to do the job.
 
      *  40% of adults think that their parents would have benefited from
         therapy.
 
      "We've gained extraordinary insight into a part of life that usually
 takes place behind closed doors," said Jo Colman, publisher of Psychology
 Today and its associated online Therapy Directory.  "We did not expect to find
 so many people had taken advantage of the treatment options now available to
 them, or the extent to which the stigma surrounding the subject appears to
 have subsided."
 
     Many People Who Need Treatment Are Not Getting It.
     While the majority of Americans is familiar with mental health
 treatment-either through their own experience or that of a family member or
 friend-a sizable number of those who appear to have needed treatment have not
 received care.  These people are doubtful about the efficacy of treatment,
 stymied by cost, or concerned about stigma.
 
      *  37% of those who report having experienced sufficient distress to
         warrant treatment have not received it.  These people, an estimated 24
         million, represent just over one in 10 people in the general U.S.
         adult population.
 
      *  Among those who have needed mental health treatment but not gotten it,
         the top reasons given for not receiving it were cost and doubt about
         its efficacy.  39% report that it is too expensive, 35% say that their
         problems have not been serious enough to warrant professional
         attention, 32% do not think treatment would help, and 26% cite concern
         about lack of insurance coverage.
 
      *  Stigma inhibits some respondents from getting needed care: the fear
         that therapy would go on their "record" is mentioned by 22%, and the
         concern that friends or family could find out is mentioned by 19%.
         Such concerns are cited more often by men than by women.
 
      *  More than half (52%) of the general adult population believes that it
        is somewhat or very difficult to access mental health treatment.
 
      *  37% of all insured respondents are unsure of whether their health
         insurance covers mental health care.
 
      "These survey results confirm what we've always believed and validate the
 direction in which we're moving," said Jerry Vaccaro, M.D., president and
 chief executive officer of PacifiCare Behavioral Health, a subsidiary of
 PacifiCare Health Systems that provides behavioral health services to millions
 of Americans.  "We're in the process of developing new programs that identify
 and reach out to these people so they can get the help they need."
 
     Talk Therapy versus Medication: Understanding the Discrepancy.
     Numerous studies corroborate the Therapy in America 2004 findings that
 people who receive medication and those who undergo therapy experience about
 equal levels of satisfaction and effectiveness.  Nonetheless, a great many
 Americans are being treated with medication alone.
 
      *  For those with a treatment history, 81%, or an estimated 48 million
         people, report taking or having taken a prescription medication for a
         personal, emotional or mental health problem in the past two years.
         In contrast, only 53% report undergoing psychotherapy.
 
      *  25% of American adults who have taken prescription drugs for a mental
         health problem did not report the level of distress typically
         associated with those in need of treatment.
 
      *  One-quarter of those taking only medication have received a
         recommendation from a doctor that they receive talk therapy as well,
         but have not done so.
 
      *  Older Americans (ages 50+) are significantly more likely to receive
         medication alone than are those between the ages of 18 and 49.
 
      "Clearly, medication has made it possible for many more people to seek
 and receive treatment, especially men who historically might have shied away
 from therapy," said Dr. Vaccaro.  "We know, however, that not all medications
 work effectively on all people.  Talk therapy, particularly goal-focused
 cognitive therapy, has been shown to be as effective alone or in concert with
 medication for many patients.  Our role as a consumer health organization is
 to help consumers get the right treatment at the right time."
 
     Consumers Lack Key Information When Choosing a Therapist.
     The pragmatic factors that people consider when choosing a therapist,
 including geographic proximity and cost, fail to address a crucial element of
 treatment: a good therapist-client match.  There is a clear discrepancy
 between the criteria people use to select their practitioner and the criteria
 they identify as conducive to successful therapy.
 
      *  The most common factors cited in the choice of a mental health
         professional include: recommendation from a doctor (28%), whether the
         therapist is part of the individual's health-plan network (26%),
         proximity to home or work (22%), and cost (17%).
 
      *  In contrast, the factors ranked as most important in making therapy
         successful include: the therapist's listening skills (63%), the
         therapist's personality (52%), the personal connection with the
         therapist (45%), the therapist's being active in the session (38%),
         and the cost (38%).
 
      "When it comes to selecting a therapist -- a choice that represents a
 substantial investment of time and money -- people often exercise as little
 personal preference as they do when hailing a taxi cab," said Colman.
 "Consumer resources such as Psychology Today's online Therapy Directory can
 help people identify the therapists who are most appropriate for them."
 
     Conclusions
     Therapy in America 2004 is the first study of its kind to examine the
 emerging trends in mental health care.  The clear indications are that an
 unprecedented number of Americans are seeking talk therapy and medication.
 Treatment options and access to treatment are expanding and improving to meet
 consumer need while stigma is diminishing.
     The Therapy in America 2004 study suggests that efforts should be made to
 further facilitate access to treatment, to publicize its effectiveness, and to
 educate primary care physicians and nurses as well as consumers about the
 value of talk therapy as well as medication.
 
     About Psychology Today
     Psychology Today is the only national consumer magazine devoted to issues
 of mental health and emotional well being.  The magazine was launched in 1967
 and is read by more than two million people.  The online Therapy Directory
 (which can be found at www.psychologytoday.com) provides consumers with a
 flexible way to search a directory of 20,000 licensed professionals.
 Therapists identify their areas of expertise, interests, training, and cost
 per session. Many include personal introductions and photos.
 
     About PacifiCare Behavioral Health
     PacifiCare Behavioral Health, Inc. provides mental health, chemical
 dependency, and employee assistance services to covered members and maintains
 a national network of behavioral health care practitioners.  All PacifiCare
 Behavioral Health service centers hold three-year, Full Accreditation from the
 National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), the most comprehensive and
 rigorous accrediting body for managed behavioral health care organizations.
 PacifiCare Behavioral Health is a wholly owned subsidiary of PacifiCare Health
 Systems (NYSE:   PHS), with clients including health plans, union trust funds,
 employers, school districts, and public sector agencies.  More information on
 PacifiCare Behavioral Health can be obtained at www.pbhi.com.
 
     About Harris Interactive(R)
     Harris Interactive (www.harrisinteractive.com) is a worldwide market
 research and consulting firm best known for The Harris Poll(R), and for
 pioneering the Internet method to conduct scientifically accurate market
 research.  Headquartered in Rochester, New York, Harris Interactive combines
 proprietary methodologies and technology with expertise in predictive, custom,
 and strategic research.  The company conducts international research from its
 U.S. offices and through wholly owned subsidiaries-London-based HI Europe
 (www.hieurope.com), Paris-based Novatris and Tokyo-based Harris Interactive
 Japan-as well as through the Harris Interactive Global Network of independent
 market- and opinion-research firms.
     To become a member of the Harris Poll Online(SM) and be invited to
 participate in future online surveys, visit www.harrispollonline.com.
 
     Methodology for Therapy in America Survey
     The telephone portion of this project was conducted within the United
 States between February 16 and March 5, 2004, among a nationwide cross-section
 of 501 adults.  Figures for age, sex, race, education, region, household
 income, number of adults and number of voice/telephone lines in the household
 were weighted where necessary to bring the total population of all adults in
 line with their actual proportions in the population.  In theory, one can
 expect that 95% of surveys with samples of this size would produce results
 that were within plus or minus four percentage points of what they would be if
 the entire adult population had been polled using the same methods.
     The online portion of this survey was conducted within the United States
 between February 27 and March 1, 2004, among a nationwide cross-section of
 1,731 adults who qualified for the survey on the basis of having needed and/or
 received mental health treatment within the previous two years, according to
 the definitions of "need" and "treatment" used in the survey.  Figures for
 age, sex, race, education, region, and household income were weighted where
 necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions among those in
 the general population meeting these same mental health criteria.  "Propensity
 score" weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be
 online.  In theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with
 95 percent certainty that the results have a statistical precision of plus or
 minus three percentage points of what they would be if the entire adult
 population had been polled with complete accuracy.  This online sample is not
 a probability sample.
 
     Definitions
     "Need for treatment" was determined based on responses to the Life Status
 Questionnaire, an assessment tool used and clinically validated by PacifiCare
 Behavioral Health, as well as on the respondents' self-perceived need for
 mental health treatment and having spoken to a primary-care doctor about this
 at some point within the past two years.
     "Therapy" was defined as follows for respondents:  "When we use the word
 'therapy,' we mean talking to a mental-health professional-such as a
 psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or marriage-and-family therapist-on
 a regular basis about problems or things that are bothering you.  This can be
 either alone, on a one-on-one basis, or in a group setting."
 
     For further information, please contact: Barbara Kancelbaum of Psychology
 Today, +1-718-788-1408, b.kancelbaum@verizon.net; or Ben Singer of PacifiCare
 Behavioral Health, +1-562-936-1466, benjamin.singer2@verizon.net; or Nancy
 Wong of Harris Interactive, +1-585-214-7316, nwong@harrisinteractive.com.
 
 

SOURCE PacifiCare Behaviorial Health, Inc.
     WASHINGTON, May 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- More than one in four
 American adults has received treatment for a mental health problem in the past
 two years, via talk therapy, medication, or a combination of the two,
 according to Therapy in America 2004, a new Harris Interactive(R) poll.  This
 groundbreaking survey is the first of its kind to examine consumer trends and
 attitudes in mental health treatment.
     The study was conducted this March using a nationwide phone survey of 501
 adults and a follow-up online survey of 1,731 people known to have needed or
 received treatment.  Psychology Today, its online Therapy Directory, and
 PacifiCare Behavioral Health, a national behavioral health care organization,
 were its sponsors.
 
     Among the key findings:
 
      *  Mental health treatment has become an important part of American life.
         27% of adults, or an estimated 59 million people, have received
         treatment in the past two years.  Of these, the large majority reports
         high levels of efficacy and satisfaction, regardless of the type of
         treatment received.
 
      *  More than one in three who need treatment are not getting it.  The
         leading barriers to receiving care include cost, lack of confidence
         that treatment helps, and lack of health insurance.
 
      *  81% of those with a treatment history report taking a prescription
         medication.  47% have used medication alone, 34% have used drugs and
         psychotherapy, and 19% have received psychotherapy only.
 
      *  Consumers lack key information for selecting a therapist.  Respondents
         seeking a therapist make their choice based on physician
         recommendations, their health plan's network and geographic
         considerations, with little opportunity to learn in advance about the
         therapist's personal style or listening skills -- the factors that
         they identify as being most associated with successful therapy.
 
      Mental Health Care is Widespread and Widely Accepted; Americans Who
 Receive Treatment Are Overwhelmingly Satisfied.
     If you are not in treatment, chances are you're sitting next to someone
 who is.  From co-workers to family members, a substantial number of Americans
 have friends or loved ones who have received talk therapy or medication.
 Respondents also believe that many of their closest associates and kin would
 benefit from treatment.
 
      *  In the last two years, 27% of the general adult population has either
         seen a mental health professional for therapy or taken a prescription
         medication for a personal, emotional or mental health problem.
 
      *  80% of those who have received treatment have found it effective.
 
      *  85% report that they are satisfied with treatment, and more than half
         (54%) are either very or extremely satisfied.
 
      *  Women are disproportionately represented among those likely to have
         needed treatment (making up 58% of the total), as well as among those
         who have received it.  Of the group that has received treatment, women
         make up 63%, versus 37% for men.
 
      *  Almost half of those surveyed (49%) know someone who has been in
         treatment, and almost two-thirds (61%) say they do not view the choice
         to receive therapy as a sign of character weakness.
 
      *  Almost four out of five (79%) respondents believe that if a co-worker
         were in therapy it would make no difference in his/her ability to do
         the job.  7% of respondents say it would actually make the co-worker
         better able to do the job.
 
      *  40% of adults think that their parents would have benefited from
         therapy.
 
      "We've gained extraordinary insight into a part of life that usually
 takes place behind closed doors," said Jo Colman, publisher of Psychology
 Today and its associated online Therapy Directory.  "We did not expect to find
 so many people had taken advantage of the treatment options now available to
 them, or the extent to which the stigma surrounding the subject appears to
 have subsided."
 
     Many People Who Need Treatment Are Not Getting It.
     While the majority of Americans is familiar with mental health
 treatment-either through their own experience or that of a family member or
 friend-a sizable number of those who appear to have needed treatment have not
 received care.  These people are doubtful about the efficacy of treatment,
 stymied by cost, or concerned about stigma.
 
      *  37% of those who report having experienced sufficient distress to
         warrant treatment have not received it.  These people, an estimated 24
         million, represent just over one in 10 people in the general U.S.
         adult population.
 
      *  Among those who have needed mental health treatment but not gotten it,
         the top reasons given for not receiving it were cost and doubt about
         its efficacy.  39% report that it is too expensive, 35% say that their
         problems have not been serious enough to warrant professional
         attention, 32% do not think treatment would help, and 26% cite concern
         about lack of insurance coverage.
 
      *  Stigma inhibits some respondents from getting needed care: the fear
         that therapy would go on their "record" is mentioned by 22%, and the
         concern that friends or family could find out is mentioned by 19%.
         Such concerns are cited more often by men than by women.
 
      *  More than half (52%) of the general adult population believes that it
        is somewhat or very difficult to access mental health treatment.
 
      *  37% of all insured respondents are unsure of whether their health
         insurance covers mental health care.
 
      "These survey results confirm what we've always believed and validate the
 direction in which we're moving," said Jerry Vaccaro, M.D., president and
 chief executive officer of PacifiCare Behavioral Health, a subsidiary of
 PacifiCare Health Systems that provides behavioral health services to millions
 of Americans.  "We're in the process of developing new programs that identify
 and reach out to these people so they can get the help they need."
 
     Talk Therapy versus Medication: Understanding the Discrepancy.
     Numerous studies corroborate the Therapy in America 2004 findings that
 people who receive medication and those who undergo therapy experience about
 equal levels of satisfaction and effectiveness.  Nonetheless, a great many
 Americans are being treated with medication alone.
 
      *  For those with a treatment history, 81%, or an estimated 48 million
         people, report taking or having taken a prescription medication for a
         personal, emotional or mental health problem in the past two years.
         In contrast, only 53% report undergoing psychotherapy.
 
      *  25% of American adults who have taken prescription drugs for a mental
         health problem did not report the level of distress typically
         associated with those in need of treatment.
 
      *  One-quarter of those taking only medication have received a
         recommendation from a doctor that they receive talk therapy as well,
         but have not done so.
 
      *  Older Americans (ages 50+) are significantly more likely to receive
         medication alone than are those between the ages of 18 and 49.
 
      "Clearly, medication has made it possible for many more people to seek
 and receive treatment, especially men who historically might have shied away
 from therapy," said Dr. Vaccaro.  "We know, however, that not all medications
 work effectively on all people.  Talk therapy, particularly goal-focused
 cognitive therapy, has been shown to be as effective alone or in concert with
 medication for many patients.  Our role as a consumer health organization is
 to help consumers get the right treatment at the right time."
 
     Consumers Lack Key Information When Choosing a Therapist.
     The pragmatic factors that people consider when choosing a therapist,
 including geographic proximity and cost, fail to address a crucial element of
 treatment: a good therapist-client match.  There is a clear discrepancy
 between the criteria people use to select their practitioner and the criteria
 they identify as conducive to successful therapy.
 
      *  The most common factors cited in the choice of a mental health
         professional include: recommendation from a doctor (28%), whether the
         therapist is part of the individual's health-plan network (26%),
         proximity to home or work (22%), and cost (17%).
 
      *  In contrast, the factors ranked as most important in making therapy
         successful include: the therapist's listening skills (63%), the
         therapist's personality (52%), the personal connection with the
         therapist (45%), the therapist's being active in the session (38%),
         and the cost (38%).
 
      "When it comes to selecting a therapist -- a choice that represents a
 substantial investment of time and money -- people often exercise as little
 personal preference as they do when hailing a taxi cab," said Colman.
 "Consumer resources such as Psychology Today's online Therapy Directory can
 help people identify the therapists who are most appropriate for them."
 
     Conclusions
     Therapy in America 2004 is the first study of its kind to examine the
 emerging trends in mental health care.  The clear indications are that an
 unprecedented number of Americans are seeking talk therapy and medication.
 Treatment options and access to treatment are expanding and improving to meet
 consumer need while stigma is diminishing.
     The Therapy in America 2004 study suggests that efforts should be made to
 further facilitate access to treatment, to publicize its effectiveness, and to
 educate primary care physicians and nurses as well as consumers about the
 value of talk therapy as well as medication.
 
     About Psychology Today
     Psychology Today is the only national consumer magazine devoted to issues
 of mental health and emotional well being.  The magazine was launched in 1967
 and is read by more than two million people.  The online Therapy Directory
 (which can be found at www.psychologytoday.com) provides consumers with a
 flexible way to search a directory of 20,000 licensed professionals.
 Therapists identify their areas of expertise, interests, training, and cost
 per session. Many include personal introductions and photos.
 
     About PacifiCare Behavioral Health
     PacifiCare Behavioral Health, Inc. provides mental health, chemical
 dependency, and employee assistance services to covered members and maintains
 a national network of behavioral health care practitioners.  All PacifiCare
 Behavioral Health service centers hold three-year, Full Accreditation from the
 National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), the most comprehensive and
 rigorous accrediting body for managed behavioral health care organizations.
 PacifiCare Behavioral Health is a wholly owned subsidiary of PacifiCare Health
 Systems (NYSE:   PHS), with clients including health plans, union trust funds,
 employers, school districts, and public sector agencies.  More information on
 PacifiCare Behavioral Health can be obtained at www.pbhi.com.
 
     About Harris Interactive(R)
     Harris Interactive (www.harrisinteractive.com) is a worldwide market
 research and consulting firm best known for The Harris Poll(R), and for
 pioneering the Internet method to conduct scientifically accurate market
 research.  Headquartered in Rochester, New York, Harris Interactive combines
 proprietary methodologies and technology with expertise in predictive, custom,
 and strategic research.  The company conducts international research from its
 U.S. offices and through wholly owned subsidiaries-London-based HI Europe
 (www.hieurope.com), Paris-based Novatris and Tokyo-based Harris Interactive
 Japan-as well as through the Harris Interactive Global Network of independent
 market- and opinion-research firms.
     To become a member of the Harris Poll Online(SM) and be invited to
 participate in future online surveys, visit www.harrispollonline.com.
 
     Methodology for Therapy in America Survey
     The telephone portion of this project was conducted within the United
 States between February 16 and March 5, 2004, among a nationwide cross-section
 of 501 adults.  Figures for age, sex, race, education, region, household
 income, number of adults and number of voice/telephone lines in the household
 were weighted where necessary to bring the total population of all adults in
 line with their actual proportions in the population.  In theory, one can
 expect that 95% of surveys with samples of this size would produce results
 that were within plus or minus four percentage points of what they would be if
 the entire adult population had been polled using the same methods.
     The online portion of this survey was conducted within the United States
 between February 27 and March 1, 2004, among a nationwide cross-section of
 1,731 adults who qualified for the survey on the basis of having needed and/or
 received mental health treatment within the previous two years, according to
 the definitions of "need" and "treatment" used in the survey.  Figures for
 age, sex, race, education, region, and household income were weighted where
 necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions among those in
 the general population meeting these same mental health criteria.  "Propensity
 score" weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be
 online.  In theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with
 95 percent certainty that the results have a statistical precision of plus or
 minus three percentage points of what they would be if the entire adult
 population had been polled with complete accuracy.  This online sample is not
 a probability sample.
 
     Definitions
     "Need for treatment" was determined based on responses to the Life Status
 Questionnaire, an assessment tool used and clinically validated by PacifiCare
 Behavioral Health, as well as on the respondents' self-perceived need for
 mental health treatment and having spoken to a primary-care doctor about this
 at some point within the past two years.
     "Therapy" was defined as follows for respondents:  "When we use the word
 'therapy,' we mean talking to a mental-health professional-such as a
 psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or marriage-and-family therapist-on
 a regular basis about problems or things that are bothering you.  This can be
 either alone, on a one-on-one basis, or in a group setting."
 
     For further information, please contact: Barbara Kancelbaum of Psychology
 Today, +1-718-788-1408, b.kancelbaum@verizon.net; or Ben Singer of PacifiCare
 Behavioral Health, +1-562-936-1466, benjamin.singer2@verizon.net; or Nancy
 Wong of Harris Interactive, +1-585-214-7316, nwong@harrisinteractive.com.
 
 SOURCE  PacifiCare Behaviorial Health, Inc.