Mental illness and addiction are leading causes of disability, and suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in youth ages 10–24 in the United States. Bergen was the highest NJ county in deaths by suicide in 2013-15. According to the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment Report of Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, lack of access to treatment is a major concern for our area. This problem is three-fold: 1. Not enough therapists available; 2. Few take insurance; 3. Low reimbursement rates make treatment unaffordable even for those with insurance. Interviews with local healthcare experts emphasized this gap. “The community mental health centers do an excellent job, but the need far outweighs their ability to serve. Continued cuts have made services difficult to access.” 2018 budget cuts will only magnify the severe shortage of psychiatric care for children and teens as well as adults.
Summit Focus Question: How can we increase access to mental health and addiction treatment?