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C. Why Health Coverage for Mental Illness is Important

Narrator: This is Science Today. For several years now, U.S. legislators have been trying to enact a law requiring that employers provide equal medical coverage for mental illness. But there's been concern that such coverage would further drive up rising insurance costs. UCLA psychologist Alexander Young conducted one of the first national studies to evaluate the quality of mental health care.

Young: We found that about two-thirds of people with serious depression or anxiety disorders weren't getting appropriate treatment during the past year, in fact didn't receive much of anything that's likely to be helpful. So it provided an opportunity to really get a more definitive national sense of what's going on.

Narrator: Young says in a given year, over nine percent of the U.S. population has a mental health disorder of some kind.

Young: And that's a very high percentage. And so the odds of people getting these disorders or developing one of these disorders are actually quite real. We may just want to ensure that there is adequate mental health coverage so that people are protected even if they don't expect these problems to develop.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.