Mental Illness Hits 20% of the US Population

By Terence T. Gorski
December 21, 2013

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Mental Illness Hurts!
Especially If You’re In Jail
When You Should Be In Treatment!

SAMHSA’s 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health brought out many new statistics that are not very encouraging.  I decided to share a recent SAMHSA Newsletter that reported the major findings.

– Nearly 20% of the population experienced a diagnosable mental illness in 2011. This is 43.7 million people. Less than half (43%) received any treatment.

– Adults who experienced mental illness in the past year were three times more likely to have met the criteria for a substance use disorder than those who had not experienced mental illness in the past year (19.2 percent versus 6.4 percent).

– Those who had serious mental illness in the past year were even more likely to have had substance dependence or abuse (27.3 percent).

– 9 million American adults (3.9 percent) had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year

– 2.7 million (1.1 percent) made suicide plans

-1.3 million (0.6 percent) attempted suicide

Our kids are not in very good shape either.

– In 2012 about 2.2 million youth aged 12 to 17 (9.1 %) experienced a major depressive episode.

– Young people suffering from depression were more than three times as likely to have a substance use disorder (16.0 percent) than their counterparts who had not experienced a major depressive episode (5.1 percent).

The White House has the answer!
Another website: www.mentalhealth.gov  

alcohol-effects-economyI am surprised that this newsletter DID NOT MENTION:

(1) The rising rates of depression and suicide in our military troops both during active duty and after discharge. (People tend to get depressed after serving multiple combat shifts and having their retirement benefits cut.)

(2) That every year there is an increasing number of educated and licensed mental health professionals at work in the USA. The wide variety of name brands, degrees, and licenses is too mind boggling for me to describe, so I will leave that to Mental Heath America.

(3) In spite of the growing number of mental health professionals the rate of mental illness and substance use disorders is still on the rise.

Question: Is there something wrong with this picture. More professionals working on the problem – the more people who are suffering from mental illness and substance abuse. Could there be something hidden in plain view that is driving up the rates of substance abuse and mental illness?

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Mental Illness On the Rise.

(4) The evidence that suggests mental health problems, substance use disorders, and other behavioral addictions such as gambling and sexual addiction all go up during economic hard times.  Hunger and homelessness is on the rise in this sluggish economy. The results of this prolonged economic turn-down is more severe than people think. Read the report for yourself.

(5) The rates of mental illness continue to rise in spite of record sales in psychiatric medications, especially antidepressants.

It has been a long-standing Federal and State Government policy to reduce costs by cutting mental health beds in long-term residential psychiatric hospitals. The government decided to return the severe and chronically mentally  ill to the community. As a result, in 2012 the USA has a shortage of psychiatric beds.
For every 20 public psychiatric beds that existed in the US in 1955, only one such bed existed in 2005.
The full story of the rise and fall of long-term psychiatric hospitals is clearly described in The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. The history closely parallels what was happening in the United States and world-wide.  When they can’t function in the community due to their mental illness, many end up in the worst possible place for a mentally ill person — prison.
According to The Human Rights Watch the prisons have become the primary psychiatric treatment facilities. The brutality to the mentally in prison is too horrible to imagine. Read the full report if your stomach is strong enough to see the truth.

“Prisons are woefully ill-equipped for their current role as the nation’s
primary mental health facilities.” said  Jamie Fellner, Director,
U.S. Program of Human Rights Watch.
There are serious consequences of cutting back on the treatment resources for the mentally ill over the past several decades:The Treatment Advocacy Center reports that because there are so few beds available, individuals with severe psychiatric disorders who need to be hospitalized are often unable to get admitted. Those who are admitted are often discharged prematurely and without a treatment plan. The consequences of the radical reduction in psychiatric hospital beds are evidenced in the following areas:

  • Homelessness.  A 2005 federal survey estimated that approximately 500,000 single men and women are homeless in the United States at any given time and multiple studies have reported that one-third have a serious mental illness. A study in Massachusetts found that 27 percent of patients discharged from a state psychiatric hospital became homeless within six months of discharge; in a similar study in Ohio, the figure was 36 percent.
  • Jails and Prisons as Psychiatric Hospitals.  Since the radical reduction in public psychiatric hospital beds there has been a massive increase in severely mentally ill persons in jails and prisons. Conservative estimates have placed the number at 7 to 10 percent of all inmates, but some studies have put the figure at 20 percent or higher. The three largest de facto psychiatric institutions in the United States are the Los Angeles County Jail, Chicago’s Cook County Jail, and New York’s Riker Island Jail.
images“On any given day, between 25-30 percent of the inmates at Cook County Jail suffer from mental illnesses. The majority of these inmates are in jail for nonviolent offenses closely associated with their mental health issues and would be far better served by treatment rather than incarceration.” ~ Thomas J. Dart, Cook County Sherrif
  • Hospital Emergency Room Overflow.  Emergency rooms are often used as waiting rooms for people in need of a psychiatric bed. This backs up the entire hospital system and compromises other medical care. In Arlington, Virginia, county officials had to call 31 hospitals before finding one that would accept a patient.
  • Violent Crime.  Studies have shown that between 5 to 10 percent of seriously mentally ill persons who are not receiving treatment will commit a violent act each year. Such individual are responsible for at least 5 percent of all homicides.
The full SAMHSA newsletter is below. I wouldn’t worry, however, The Affordable Care Act will fix all of this right up. Kathleen Sibelius, Health and Human Services Secretary who reports to the President has promised it will all be fixed. She said: “The Affordable Care Act and new parity protections are expanding mental and substance use disorder benefits for 62 million Americans. This historic expansion will help make treatment more affordable and accessible.”

How Bad Does It Have To Get
Before We Rise UP And Say ENOUGH!!!

SAMHSA News Release

Date: 12/19/2013 9:00 AM
Media Contact: SAMHSA Press Office
Telephone: 240-276-2130

43.7 Million Americans experienced mental illness in 2012

$31 Million Announced to Improve Mental Health Services for Young People
Nearly one in five American adults, or 43.7 million people, experienced a diagnosable mental illness in 2012 according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). These results are consistent with 2011 findings.
SAMHSA also reported that, consistent with 2011, less than half (41 percent) of these adults received any mental health services in the past year. Among those who had serious mental illness, 62.9 percent received treatment. Among adults with mental illness who reported an unmet need for treatment, the top three reasons given for not receiving help were that they could not afford the cost, thought they could handle the problem without treatment, or did not know where to go for services.
The findings also shed light on mental health issues among young people. According to the report, 2.2 million youth aged 12 to 17 (9.1 percent of this population) experienced a major depressive episode in 2012. These young people were more than three times as likely to have a substance use disorder (16.0 percent) than their counterparts who had not experienced a major depressive episode (5.1 percent).
“The President and Vice President have made clear that mental illness should no longer be treated by our society – or covered by insurance companies – differently from other illnesses,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “The Affordable Care Act and new parity protections are expanding mental and substance use disorder benefits for 62 million Americans. This historic expansion will help make treatment more affordable and accessible.”
“People will only benefit from all the progress we’ve made if they aren’t afraid to get help,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pam Hyde. “That’s why President Obama called for a national conversation on mental health and proposed a budget initiative to support making it easier for young people, adults, and families struggling with mental health problems to seek help and support.” (http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/factsheet/improving-mental-health-prevention-and-treatment-services)
The Administration recently launched www.MentalHealth.gov to help people find easy-to-understand information about basic signs of mental health problems, how to talk about mental health and mental illness, and how to locate help.
In addition, SAMHSA is announcing two grant funding opportunities to help improve mental health services for young people:
  • Planning Grants for Expansion of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program – this grant program will provide $8 million in funding to assist states, political subdivisions, tribes, or territories to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for improving, expanding, and sustaining services provided through a system of care approach for children and youth with serious emotional disturbances and their families.
  • Implementation Cooperative Agreements for Expansion of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and their Families Program – this grant program will provide $23 million in funding to enable states, political subdivisions, tribes, or territories to improve behavioral health outcomes for children and youth with serious emotional disturbances and their families.
The new findings from SAMHSA also found that 9 million American adults 18 and older (3.9 percent) had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year–2.7 million (1.1 percent) made suicide plans and 1.3 million (0.6 percent) attempted suicide.
Those in crisis or knowing someone they believe may be at immediate risk of attempting suicide can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or go to http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network, funded by SAMHSA, provides immediate free and confidential crisis round-the-clock counseling to anyone in need throughout the country, every day of the year.
According to SAMHSA, adults who experienced mental illness in the past year were three times more likely to have met the criteria for a substance use disorder than those who had not experienced mental illness in the past year (19.2 percent versus 6.4 percent). Those who had serious mental illness in the past year were even more likely to have had substance dependence or abuse (27.3 percent).
The new findings come from SAMHSA’s 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. In the survey, mental illness among adults aged 18 or older is defined as having had a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder (excluding developmental and substance use disorders) in the past year based on criteria specified in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association.
In this survey, serious mental illness is defined as mental illness that resulted in serious functional impairment, which substantially interfered with or limited one or more major life activities. A major depressive episode is defined as a period of at least two weeks when a person experienced a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities and had at least four of seven additional symptoms reflecting the criteria as described in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
The complete survey findings from this report are available on the SAMHSA Web site at:http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2k12MH_FindingsandDetTables/Index.aspx

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

 

One Response to Mental Illness Hits 20% of the US Population

  1. coreytoney says:

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