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Mental Health

Study Reveals 40% Increase in U.S. Mental Health Diagnoses 2019-2023

— May 15, 2024

The white paper draws attention to the fact that diagnoses surged as a result of the pandemic.

In a recent study conducted by FAIR Health, it has been found that the share of patients diagnosed with mental health conditions surged in the U.S. by 39.8% between 2019 and 2023. The white paper, titled “Trends in Mental Health Conditions: An Analysis of Private Healthcare Claims,” sheds light on the escalating prevalence of mental health diagnoses across various demographics and geographic regions of the U.S.

The report, drawing from over 46 billion private healthcare claim records, underscores the urgency of understanding recent trends in mental health conditions and the utilization of mental healthcare services. Mental health conditions, known to impact cognition, emotional regulation, and behavior significantly, warrant close attention from healthcare providers, policymakers, and stakeholders alike.

The study is particularly important as it centers around how the COVID pandemic in the U.S. has impacted overall health. The researchers state, “In recent years, particularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, mental health conditions have grown in prevalence and impact.”

Study Reveals 40% Increase in U.S. Mental Health Diagnoses 2019-2023
Photo by Tara Winstead from Pexels

Key findings from the study include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder emerged as the most common mental health diagnosis in 2023, while attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) topped the list among patients aged 0-13 years.
  • Mental health diagnoses witnessed an uptick across all age groups and states, with the Midwest experiencing the largest increase in the percentage of patients diagnosed.
  • Major depressive disorder, ADHD, adjustment disorders, and bipolar disorder were among the most prevalent mental health diagnoses in 2023, with notable increases observed across the board.
  • The study highlighted a substantial rise in the percentage of claim lines associated with mental health diagnoses, indicating a growing demand for mental healthcare services nationwide.
  • Females constituted a higher percentage of patients with mental health diagnoses compared to males, with both genders experiencing an increase in diagnoses during the study period.
  • Telehealth emerged as a preferred mode of service delivery for mental healthcare, experiencing a staggering 5,123.4% increase in claim lines from 2019 to 2023.
  • Nonphysician specialties such as social workers, nurse practitioners, and psychiatric nurses witnessed an increase in their share of mental health diagnosis claim lines, signaling a shift in mental healthcare delivery.
  • Approximately 15.7% of patients with a mental health diagnosis also had a substance use disorder, underscoring the need for integrated care approaches to address comorbid conditions effectively.

Commenting on the study’s findings, FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd emphasized the implications for patients, providers, payors, and policymakers. Gelburd expressed hope that the findings would catalyze further research and informed decision-making in mental health.

“The findings in this report have implications for stakeholders across the healthcare spectrum, including patients with mental health conditions and the providers who treat them, as well as payors and policymakers,” she said. “We hope that these findings will also be starting points for further research on mental health conditions.”

FAIR Health, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to transparency in healthcare costs and health insurance information, aims to empower consumers and stakeholders through data-driven insights. Leveraging its extensive database and unwavering commitment to data integrity, FAIR Health remains at the forefront of driving meaningful advancements in understanding and addressing mental health challenges nationwide. The organization strives to promote evidence-based solutions and improve access to quality mental healthcare services for all individuals by providing reliable data and fostering collaboration among healthcare professionals, policymakers, and communities. This study revealed key data points that will help the agency in its mission.


Share of Patients with Mental Health Diagnoses Rose 40 Percent Nationally from 2019 to 2023, according to New FAIR Health Study

FAIR HEALTH White Paper: Trends in Mental Health Conditions: An Analysis of Private Healthcare Claims

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