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School of Social Work

Why Mental Health Services?

Apply to the Mental Health Program

Mental health challenges touch everyone.  The California Mental Health Movement, Each Mind Matters (2014) relates that:

  • One in four adults lives with a diagnosable mental illness in a given year
  • Half of all mental illnesses start by the age of 14
  • Three-quarters of mental illnesses start by the age of 24
  • Before individuals secure help, an average of six to eight years pass after the onset of a mood disorder
  • Before individuals secure help, an average of nine to 23 years pass after the onset of an anxiety disorder

Mental Health challenges are experience by all ages. Throughout the nation, State Departments of Mental Health(opens in new window) and related programs indicate that depression is not a “normal” part of the aging process.

  • 20% of older adults experience undiagnosed depression.
  • Only 12-25% who experience depression receive treatment
  • It is estimated that an additional 5 million elders have subclinical depression that fails to meet diagnostic criteria 
    • Suicide is more common among older adults than any other age group.
    • A suicide by an older adult occurs every 90 minutes in the U.S

Most older adults who die by suicide had been seen recently by their primary doctor:

  • 20% had been seen by their doctor within 24 hours of their suicide
  • 41% had been seen by their doctor within a week of their suicide
  • 75% had been seen by a physician within a month of their suicide

The Field of Mental Health provides an array of settings for MSWs to practice, with opportunities to work with children, youth, adults, and older adults.  A career in the field of mental health includes micro, messo, and macro levels and lends to work with individuals, couples, families, and groups.  With the growth of Integrated Health Care, social workers have new opportunities to work in behavioral health (mental health and substance use/abuse) and primary health care settings.

The CSU, Chico School of Social Work provides a Mental Health Focus Area for MSW students to receive specialized training their concentration year.