Mental Health Supply of Medical Services

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Spending

Although somewhat outdated, this report by Mark et al. (2007) provides a glimpse at trends in mental health and substance abuse (MHSA) spending.

National expenditures for the treatment of MHSA disorders amounted to $121 billion in 2003, up from $70 billion in 1993.  The average annual rate of (5.6%) was somewhat slower than spending growth for all medical services (6.5 %).  As a result, MHSA spending as a share of all health spending fell to 7.5 percent of the $1.6 trillion spent on all health services in 2003, from 8.2 percent in 1993.

From 1993 to 1998, a period of rapid expansion of managed care, the growth rate for MHSA expenditures was only 3.4% compared to 5.4% for all health services.  From 1998 to 2003 MHSA spending grew by 7.9 percent similar to the 7.7 percent for all health.

Of all MHSA spending, $100 billion was for mental health and $21 billion was for substance abuse.  The pie chart below gives the breakdown of payers for MHSA spending in 2003.

The next chart shows the distribution of MHSA expenditures by provider in the same year.


  1. Spending for mental health and substance abuse (MHSA) treatment in the United States totaled $104 billion in 2001, representing 7.6 percent of all health care spending.

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