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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mental Illness Effects Millions

Mental illness plagues millions of Americans every year and can often be tied into substance abuse according to a new survey. A new survey found that over 45 million people experienced mental illness in the past year, which is about 20 percent of the population. About 20 percent of those 45 million, about 8.9 percent, in the past year also have a substance abuse problem. The survey, which dealt with 67,500 adults nationwide, was released Thursday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). What is sad is that a number of sick patients are rarely finding adequate treatment - if any. "Too many Americans are not getting the help they need and opportunities to prevent and intervene early are being missed," SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in an agency news release.

According to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, overall:

  • 4.8 percent (11 million people) suffered serious mental illness
  • 8.4 million people had serious thoughts of suicide
  • 2.2 million made suicide plans
  • one million attempted suicide
  • only 37.9 percent of adults with mental illness received mental health services

"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," she said. So many people begin the road towards addiction because of an untreated mental illness; drugs and alcohol only exacerbate the problem. Hopefully, with the new Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act people will able to get the treatment that they so desperately need. The new survey is scheduled to be presented by Hyde at the World Conference on the Promotion of Mental Health and Prevention of Mental and Behavioral Disorders in Washington, D.C.

Business Week

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