• Journal Article

National spending on mental health and substance abuse treatment by age of clients, 1997

Citation

Harwood, H. J., Mark, T. L., McKusick, D. R., Coffey, R. M., King, E. C., & Genuardi, J. S. (2003). National spending on mental health and substance abuse treatment by age of clients, 1997. Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, 30(4), 433-43.

Abstract

This article examines 1997 national expenditures on mental health and substance abuse (MH/SA) treatment by 3 major age groups: 0-17, 18-64, and 65 and older. Of the total $82.4 billion in MH/SA expenditures, 13% went to children, 72% to adults, and 15% to older adults. MH/SA treatment expenditures made up 9% of total health care expenditures on children, 11% of total health care expenditures on adults, and 3% of total health care expenditures on older adults. Across the 3 age groups, distinct differences emerged in the distribution of MH/SA expenditures by provider-type. For example, about 85% of spending for youth was for specialty MH/SA providers, compared to 76% for adults and 51% for older adults. In addition, 33% of MH/SA spending for older adults went to nursing home care, while other age groups had almost no expenditures in nursing homes. Age-specific estimates enable policymakers, providers, and researchers to design programs and studies more appropriately tailored to specific age groups.