CAMFT White Paper Explores Golden State Crisis: Half of Californians Who Need Mental Health Services Are Not Getting Treatment

Social Stigma Identified as a Significant Barrier to Care for
Millions of Individuals with Mental Illness

SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#Counseling–In a white
released today, the California Association of Marriage and
Family Therapists (CAMFT),
a professional organization of over 32,000 members, investigates the gap
between people with mental illnesses who seek treatment and those who do
not. The research brings to light a troubling snapshot of the state’s
mental health care needs, showing that approximately half of
Californians and two-thirds of adolescents with mental health needs do
not get treatment.1 Additionally, for many of these
individuals, social stigma is a significant barrier to receiving needed
mental health care. The white paper highlights how Marriage and Family
Therapists (MFTs) help fill this important need for individuals,
families and communities.

“This study lifts the veil on California’s pervasive mental health needs
and the social stigma that prevents thousands of residents from getting
help from skilled psychotherapists,” said Patricia Ravitz, LMFT and
CAMFT President. “Every Californian deserves access to quality mental
health care. There are thousands of licensed Marriage and Family
therapists in the state, qualified to treat depression, anxiety,
addiction, relationship challenges, and many other mental health
diagnoses. We are committed to providing that help.”

Nearly 1 in 6 adults in the state has a mental health need, and
approximately 1 in 20 suffers from a serious mental illness.2
The rate among children is even higher: 1 in 13 suffers from a mental
illness that limits participation in daily activities.3 This
translates to over one million adults who live with serious mental
illness in California, and almost half a million children with serious
mental health conditions.4 Commonly experienced mental health
issues include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD).

CAMFT’s analysis also examines the ways in which mental health issues
manifest themselves in diverse populations. Women, men, children,
adolescents and the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual Transgender,
Questioning/Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI) community experience mental
illness in both similar and divergent ways, given their own unique
social and environmental factors and stressors.

Marriage and Family Therapists are also trained to treat addiction,
trauma, anxiety, depression, and other mental health illnesses. “With
the variety of treatment options available, most mental health issues
can be successfully treated by MFTs,” said Ravitz. “We continue to work
toward eradicating mental health stigma so people can freely pursue the
help they need to live productive and fulfilling lives.”

Studies validate the effectiveness of therapy in treating a wide range
of mental and emotional disorders. Surveys show that nearly 90 percent
of clients report an improvement in their emotional health after
receiving treatment, nearly two-thirds report an improvement in their
overall health, and over 98 percent rate their therapy services as good
or excellent.5

CAMFT’s therapists are located in communities throughout California and
can be accessed by visiting
Individuals can click on “Find a Therapist” and indicate preferences for
location, language, gender, and mental health specialization.

To read the CAMFT White Paper, “Golden State Crisis: Half of
Californians Who Need Mental Health Services Are Not Getting Treatment


is California’s lifeline to a Marriage and Family Therapist who can help
manage life’s challenges. At its heart,
contains a comprehensive searchable directory of thousands of Marriage
and Family Therapists (MFTs). For more information on mental health and
access to therapists who can help manage life’s challenges, visit

About California Association of Marriage and
Family Therapists (CAMFT):

CAMFT is an independent professional organization of 32,000 members
representing the interests of Marriage and Family Therapists. It is
dedicated to advancing the profession, maintaining high standards of
professional ethics, upholding the qualifications for the profession
expanding awareness of the mental health treatment provided by Marriage
and Family Therapists for individuals, couples and families. For more
information, contact CAMFT at

1 California Healthcare
Foundation’s Mental Health Care in California: Painting a Picture
July 2013

2 Ibid.
3 National
Alliance on Mental Illness State Advocacy 2010: California Fact Sheet
5 “About Marriage and Family Therapists.” American
Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. (


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Julia Watthey, 818-610-0270