MARION COUNTY, Ind. – Indiana University researchers are looking into a huge gap in mental health assistance for people in Marion County.

According to researchers, two-thirds of people in Marion County see their mental health needs unmet due to gaps in the available resources.

The report comes from the “Community Mental Health Needs Assessment Report for Marion County,” which found that 66% of Marion County residents need mental health support.

There are more than 900,000 people living in Marion County, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

That equates to nearly 26,000 people who did not receive the treatment they needed.

“This is not just a problem for Marion County, but we see this in other places as well in finding and reimbursement rates for mental health,” said Marion Greene, assistant professor in health policy and management at the Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI.

She said the report also shows people impacted the most are those among the LGBTQ+ community, people incarcerated, folks experiencing homelessness and communities of color.

“Also, in part due to our serious workforce shortage, we just don’t have enough staff working in the community health centers to address the existing mental health needs,” said Greene.

She said more money is needed to create access.

“Community mental health needs more funding to address the need,” said Greene.

Greene said the workforce shortage is one of the bigger problems within the mental health system, along with a lack of transportation or internet connection.

She said even though there is money out there from Senate Bill 1 that helps fund mental health support, it’s still not enough.

“It’s a hundred million dollars for two years; it is great but below the funding level needed,” said Greene.

Greene hopes this research will help bring more funding for community mental health centers, invest in workforce development and find ways to increase access to treatment and services.