Who Do We Serve? Mental Health Consumer Characteristics

Demographic and diagnostic information about consumers of state supported mental health services originates with four data sources representative of the overall mental health consumer population.

11. Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API) admissions

12. Community mental health center (CMHC) admissions

13. Department of Health & Social Services (DHSS) Medicaid mental health clients

14. Department of Corrections (DOC) institutional mentally ill offender population

These sources represent a sample including the large majority of clients of the public mental health system and significant number of mental health consumers served by private providers. The data provides a good picture of the overall mental health consumer population. Charts 1-3 in this section display only diagnostic categories associated with 1% or more of a mental health consumer population.

The charts make apparent some differences in the disorders of these four populations. Child and youth admissions to CMHCs fall mainly into four diagnostic groups, with two, mood disorders and other psychotic or severe disorders, accounting for 90% of admissions. The latter class accounts for fully two-thirds of all admissions for individuals under 22 years of age. Significant diagnostic features of other groups include:

Chart 1

· About 78% of adult CMHC clients are in the same diagnostic groups as clients under 22. Nearly half of adult diagnoses are mood disorders.Alaska Psychiatric Institute admissions reflect the mission of an inpatient institution. As with CMHCs, adolescent admissions to API concentrate in the other psychotic or severe disorder and mood disorder categories. However, one-sixth of adolescents admitted to API suffer from schizophrenia, one of the most serious and persistent mental illnesses. Adults were predominantly afflicted with schizophrenia (57%) and mood disorders (35%).

· Over half of Department of Corrections (DOC) inmates with mental illness fall into the diagnostic categories of schizophrenia and mood disorders, also prominent in Alaska Psychiatric Institute populations. In contrast to other groups, over 27% of Department of Corrections mentally ill offenders carry a personality disorder diagnosis. Anxiety disorders and organic mental disorders each represent about 8% of the DOC population.