20% of Americans are facing mental illness past year; Report


According to reports by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) one in five, i.e. 20%, Americans experienced mental illness in the past year.

The percentage rose for the age group 18-25 and became 30% as compared with 14.3% for 50 years and older age group. The report suggested that among 46 million U.S. adults, who were reported having a mental, emotional and behavioral disorder in 2010, almost 60% had not gone through any treatment and to afford that treatment was not the common reason to not to go through mental treatment.

Although 20% report is “relatively high” but 5% had serious issues.

“Mental illness is a significant public health problem in itself, but also because it is associated with chronic medical diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer, as well as several risk behaviors including physical inactivity, smoking, excessive drinking, and insufficient sleep,” said Ileana Arias, Ph.D., Principal Deputy Director of CDC. “Today’s report issued by SAMHSA provides further evidence that we need to continue efforts to monitor levels of mental illness in the United States in order to effectively prevent this important public health problem and its negative impact on total health.”

According to the report, unemployed, Medicaid beneficiaries and those living below the poverty level were highly prone to get any mental illness as were younger. Moreover, women are at greater risk as compared to men i.e. 23% versus 16.8%.

Substance use disorders have been found common among people with mental illness.

The reports also showed that almost 8.7 million American adults seriously thought of suicide in the past year, 2.5 million made suicide plans among them and 1.1 million attempted suicides.

“Mental illnesses can be managed successfully, and people do recover,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “Mental illness is not an isolated public health problem. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity often co-exist with mental illness and treatment of the mental illness can reduce the effects of these disorders. The Obama Administration is working to promote the use of mental health services through health reform. People, families and communities will benefit from increased access to mental health services.”


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