Most Americans, regardless of political persuasion, support requiring insurance companies to cover mental health treatment, but are divided on whether or not the government should increase mental health funding.
Last week President Barack Obama issued a statement on new health care regulations, which will require health insurers to cover many mental health services. The Obama administration hopes that this requirement will, among other things, help curb high levels of gun violence in the country and make shootings like the one that took place last year in Newtown, Connecticut less common. The changes are likely to have widespread impact: according to the CDC, nearly one in ten Americans suffer from depression.
The latest YouGov research shows that a majority of all Americans (59%) support requiring health insurance companies to cover inpatient mental health services. Both Democrats and Republicans agree, though the support for these programs does vary by party, with Democrats more supportive (70%), and Republicans somewhat less so (52%).
People are even more supportive when it comes to requiring that health insurance companies cover outpatient procedures like depression screenings and behavioral assessments for children, with 62% of Americans supporting it.
However, when it comes to actual government expenditure on these programs, the partisan split widens. Independents (47%), and Democrats (46%) tend to believe that government spending is too low when it comes to providing services to the mentally ill, but many Republicans believe spending is at about the right level (34%).
Not all Americans seem to believe that giving more money and attention to mental health issues is the best way to curb gun violence, however. Many Republicans (31%) think that it would be, but a third of Democrats (33%) say that banning assault rifles and large magazines is the most effective way to curb gun violence.
At least one study has found that those with serious mental issues are somewhat more likely to be violent than those without any mental illness. However, it is those with drug and alcohol abuse problems that are much more prone to violent behavior.
According to the new regulations, insurance for mental health services would receive similar limits, deductibles, and co-payments as the medical and surgical services which are already covered by insurers. Regardless of how effective the changes will be in curbing gun violence, they will likely impact many of the nearly
Full poll results can be found here.