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--()--In a white paper 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” visit

About 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
4 Ibid.
5 “About Marriage and Family Therapists.” American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. (


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Julia Watthey, 818-610-0270

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Scott Public Relations
Julia Watthey, 818-610-0270