The Decline of Mental Health in America1

This past year, 19.9% of adults in the United States (45 million) have suffered from mental illness, according to a survey  by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).

Add to that, 4.8% of the adult population in the U.S. (11 million people) have battled serious mental illness in the past 12 months.  According to SAMHSA, serious mental illness is defined as “one that was diagnosed and considerably undermines at least one of life’s major activities.”

This same survey (2009 National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health or NSDUEH) determined that one million Americans over 18 attempted suicide, 2.2 million made plans to end their lives, and 8.4 million gave the matter serious consideration.

SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., said:

    “Too many Americans are not getting the help they need and opportunities to prevent and intervene early are being missed. The consequences for individuals, families and communities can be devastating. If left untreated mental illnesses can result in disability, substance abuse, suicides, lost productivity, and family discord. Through health care reform and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act we can help far more people get needed treatment for behavioral health problems.”

Additional highlights from the survey include:

  • 27% of unemployed adults have suffered from mental illness in the last twelve months (compared to 17.1% of those working full time);
  • 23.8% of adult females have suffered the same this past year (compared to 15.6% for adult males); and
  • For those with mental illness, only 37.9% received any professional medical help.

Additional Resource:  Medical News Today.

1 Comment

  1. Nana

    It should procett them.In the future, insurance plans will not be able to discriminate against pre-existing conditions and that would apply to insurance companies as well. Was this answer helpful?

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