Mental health; Substance Misuse; Disparities


Medicine and Health Sciences | Mental and Social Health | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Objective: This study aimed to provide an assessment of 16 North Texas Counties’ behavioral health access disparities and provide details of the percentage of hospital patient visits from each county diagnosed with mental health and drug issues. The gender, age, race-ethnicity and insurance status of each patient, the zip codes where they live and patient migration between different providers was also detailed. Furthermore, the number of psychiatric beds for each county is listed.

Methods: This study utilized the DFWHC Foundation's data warehouse which contains comprehensive hospital visit data from 96 partner hospitals, to understand the clinical trends of mental health and substance misuse. Data from other sources like the state health department and non-profit organizations were also used for this study.

Results: In 2016 behavioral health visits in the 16 North Texas Counties were comprised of 53 percent (620,324 visits) for mental health, substance abuse 36 percent (420,456 visits) and 11 percent (134,999 visits) were for both reasons. Of note, almost all counties have behavioral health provider capacity below national and state averages. Seven North Texas Counties have no psychiatric care beds and the number of behavioral care providers throughout the region is below national and state levels.

Conclusion: This study identifies behavioral health characteristics in 16 North Texas counties. The study also identifies the need to improve provider capacity to address the high rates of both mental health and substance abuse visits per county. Overall, this study highlights the increased need for collaborative policy efforts to address behavioral and substance abuse related disparities in the North Texas region.


Authors give permission to publish this manuscript and express no conflict of interest.