US mental health facts are serious enough to warrant immediate remedial action. Or else, we will never be the same again.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year. Likewise, nearly 50 percent of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-quarters by age 24. In essence, the statistics on Mental Health in the US are scary. But the big question at the moment is how far the health care system has gone to address the problems with mental health facts? Well, the answer is not exciting in any way.
Take an example, according to a study, just 41% of US adults with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. Even worse, half of children aged 8-15 received mental health services in the previous year. Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
In this article, you will learn the major causes behind these scary mental health facts in the US and remedial measures to consider.
Top 10 Mental Health Facts in the US You Need to Know
US mental health facts are nothing short of a nightmare. Let’s explore more.
- In a given year, nearly 4 percent of US adults, 9.8 million, experience a serious mental illness. As a result, their quality of life is seriously challenged.
- During their lifetime, 21.4% of youth aged 13-18 struggle with a severe form of mental illness. The prevalence rate in children aged 8–15 is a bit lower at 13%.
- The common mental illnesses that affect Americans are schizophrenia (1.1% of adults), bipolar disorder (2.6% of adults), severe depression (6.9% of adults) and anxiety disorder (18.1% of adults). Not to forget that more than 50 percent of US adults having substance abuse problems have a co-occurring mental illness. Keep in mind that the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines drug abuse as a chronic brain disorder.
- A quarter of homeless US adults live with at least one serious mental illness.
- Suicide ranks in the 10th position in the list of leading causes of death in the U.S.Among people aged 15-24, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death.
- More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition.
- Each day an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide.
- Poor mental health causes the highest dropout rate among students aged 14-21 and older.
- Most hospitalizations due to mental illness are caused by mood disorders such as major depression, chronic depression and bipolar disorder (manic depressive disorder).
- Each year, America loses $193.2 billion due to the loss of work days caused by mental disorders.
US Mental Health Facts: What are the Possible Causes of Degrading Mental Health Condition in Americans?
No one exactly knows why some people have mental illnesses while their counterparts with similar physiology and socio-economic environment stay disease-free. However, most health professionals agree that mental illnesses result due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
That being said, a person who is genetically more vulnerable might develop a full-blown mental illness when triggered by external risk factors such as financial problems, lower social status, loss of job or relationships and others.
The external factors that might contribute to an increasing incidence of mental illness in Americans are:
- Lack of access to care. Rising cost of medical treatments and financial barriers are two most common causes of limited access to care. Another major contributing factor is insurance coverage. It is commonly seen that people with mental illness are less likely to have health insurance compared to those who have no mental illness. Even those people who are insured may also not get all the services depending on the type of the service and severity of illness. Medicaid provides acertain degree of protection against financial barriers to health care for low-income adults and disabled patients.
- Shortage of providers. It might come as a surprise for many of us that the largest economy in the world is unable to provide sufficient care to its ailing people. According to a Forbes report, the US healthcare system has ashortage of psychiatrists to treat an increasing number of patients. In the part, this shortage is fueled by the expanded mental health coverage where more and more patients are seeking mental health service. However, it should be noted that an increasing number of mental health patients is surely another major cause of the shortage. Some experts argue that in the coming years, the shortage will get worse in the coming two or three years. Interestingly, psychiatristscome second only to family physicians in terms of recruitment.
- The public stigma of mental illness. Public stigma is the most pervasive barrier that keeps mental health patients and their families from seeking treatment. Stigmatization is a major cause of poor treatment outcomes. In addition to directly affecting a person’s self and social identity, public stigma is also known to negatively impact the patient’s employment and housing opportunities. Overall, stigmatization leads to compromised financial autonomy, limited opportunities, and reduced independence.
Want To Know More?
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