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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mental Illness Affects Millions of Americans

Rethink Mental Illness
Mental illness has been overlooked for far too long, a sickness that the majority of people have tried to ignore by sweeping it under the rug. Unlike most illnesses, behavioral health problems are often viewed as some kind of weakness. Those who suffer from mental illness are not isolated cases; in fact, 42.5 million American adults (18.2 percent of the adult population) are living with one form of mental illness or another, according to a new government report.

Around 4 percent of American adults have a debilitating mental illness that hinders normal day-to-day activities, Newsweek reports. 

New Jersey has the lowest rate of overall and severe mental illness, yet the numbers are still pretty high, with an overall mental illness rate of 14.7 percent and severe mental illness was 3.1 percent. Utah has the highest rate of overall mental illness at 22.3 percent and West Virginia had the highest rate of severe mental illness at 5.5 percent.

“This report shows that, while the percentages vary, people in every state experience mental illness,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a news release. “The findings from this report will help state and local public health officials and others address the mental health needs of the people in their communities.”

It is not clear why there are variations in mental illness from state to state, the researchers said, “factors that potentially contribute to the variation are not well understood and need further study.”

The findings come from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
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