young woman in despair

“Massachusetts has more mental health care providers per capita than any other state, more psychiatrists than anywhere but Washington, D.C., more child psychiatrists than all but D.C. and Rhode Island,” Liz Kowalczyk writes over at The Boston Globe in a very useful overview of how our mental health system has gone wrong. “Yet poor and middle-class patients describe an often-frustrating and painful struggle to find a provider who will see them, at a price they can afford. They sometimes suffer longer than necessary, or settle for care by an inexperienced or less-credentialed practitioner. How can this be? Only about half of all licensed mental health care providers — psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors, and marriage and family therapists — accept payment from Massachusetts Medicaid. Only about half of all psychiatrists in the Northeast accept employer-based private insurance — and that number is falling, according to a 2014 study in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. Mental health care has become, in large measure, a private-pay business that operates outside the insurance system. It is another schism in the already fractured behavioral health care system, one that makes services readily available to those with the means to spend $200 an hour for therapy, but can frustrate those without enough money, regardless of how hard they try to find a therapist and how desperate they are for treatment.” Liz Kowalczyk, “For many, a struggle to find affordable mental health care,” The Boston Globe.

Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder  is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded...