Behavioral Health

Mental Health Treatment Continues to Rise

Mental disorders are among the most common causes of disability. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five adults live with a mental illness (46.6 million in 2017) and an estimated one in 25 adults have a serious mental illness (11.2 million) that substantially interferes with major life activities. These statistics are even higher for adolescents, where half of teens have had a mental disorder in their lifetimes and one in five have had a severe impairment. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the United States for adolescents and young adults up to age 34, and the 10th leading cause overall, accounting for 47,000 deaths nationwide in 2017. 1 This indicator measures the number of poverty-level residents estimated to be in need of mental health services and the number of clients served by publicly-funded county mental health programs. It also measures suicide rates overall and by subgroups.

Mental Health Treatment Rises for Children and Youth.

How is San Bernardino County Doing?

Unduplicated Count of Clients Served by the Public Mental Health System and the Estimated Number of Poverty-Level Residents in Need of Mental Health Services

San Bernardino County, 2017/18
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Note: Residents in need is estimated based on 2007 California Department of Mental Health figures. Sources: County of San Bernardino, Department of Behavioral Health, Client Services Information System; California Department of Mental Health, Persons in Need Tables

The gap between the need for mental health care and the number receiving treatment grew in 2017/18:

  • After several years of steadily increasing numbers of clients served, the number of clients receiving public mental health services fell in 2016/17 and continued to fall in 2017/18.
  • There were approximately 23,000 low-income residents in need of mental health services in 2017/18 who did not get care. This gap between need and receipt of services is somewhat higher than the past 10-year average.
  • Over the past 10 years, mental health care for children ages 0-5 has witnessed the largest increase, growing 305% since 208/09, followed by seniors ages 65+, growing 46%, and children ages 6-11, growing 42%.
  • Overall, 41% of clients served in 2017/18 were children and youth ages birth through 17 years, including 3,410 children ages 0 to 5 (8% of all clients) and 8,957 adolescents (20% of all clients).
  • Of the clients served during 2017/18, 41% were Latino, 31% were White, 16% were Black, 3% were Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% was Native American, and 10% were some other race or ethnic group.

Unduplicated Count of Clients Served by the Public Mental Health System by Age

San Bernardino County, 2017
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Source: County of San Bernardino, Department of Behavioral Health, Client Services Information System

Suicide Rate

San Bernardino County and California, 2017
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Source: National Institute of Mental Health (www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/index.shtml)

While suicide deaths fluctuate annually, general trends can be observed:

  • The absolute number of suicide deaths in San Bernardino County increased in the 10-year period between 2008 and 2017, but the rate remained relatively flat due to population increases over the same period.
  • There were 226 suicide deaths in the county in 2017.
  • Overall in 2017, San Bernardino County had a slightly lower rate of suicides per 100,000 residents than the statewide average (10.9).
  • The suicide rate among 25 to 44-year old residents has increased the fastest between 2008 and 2017, rising an estimated 39%. 2
  • Residents 65 years of age and older had the highest rate of suicide in 2017 (16.3).
  • White residents had both the highest count and rate of suicide deaths in San Bernardino County in 2017, at 140 and 22.6, respectively.
  • Men were nearly four times as likely as women to commit suicide in 2017.
  • Firearms, the most common cause, were used in 46% of San Bernardino County suicide deaths.

Unduplicated Count of Clients Receiving Public Mental Health Services, by Race/Ethnicity

San Bernardino County, 2017/18
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Source: County of San Bernardino, Department of Behavioral Health, Client Services Information System

Suicide Count by Race/Ethnicity

San Bernardino County, 2017
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Note: The data source combines White with Other/Unknown.

Source: California Department of Public Health, Vital Statistics Death Statistical Master Files
(http://epicenter.cdph.ca.gov)

The Relationship Between Firearms and Suicide Deaths

While firearms are used in less than 10% of suicide attempts, they account for nearly half of all suicide deaths due to their lethality. Research has shown that policies that reduce access to guns, at least temporarily, can reduce suicide rates. These policies include permit-to-purchase laws, waiting periods, child access prevention laws, and extreme risk protection orders. The vast majority of people who survive a suicide attempt do not go on to die of suicide in the future, pointing to the value of prevention in times of crisis.

Source: John Hopkins, Bloomberg School of Public Health

Suicide Rate by Age

San Bernardino County, 2008 – 2017
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Note: Data reflect three-year rolling averages, where “2017,” for example, is an average of the suicide rates from 2015, 2016, and 2017, and “2016” is an average of suicide rates from 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Source: California Department of Public Health, Vital Statistics Death Statistical Master Files (hhttp://epicenter.cdph.ca.gov)

1National Institute of Mental Health (www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/index.shtml) 2Rate of change is calculated on three-year rolling average suicide rates.