Mental Health Issues Too Common
A report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that about 50% of all Americans, at some stage in their lives, will experience some form of psychiatric problem. This problem could include any of the following issues; depression, suicide, post traumatic stress disorder or paranoia. Presently many people do not get the help they need, experts say.
The CDC report, which was published as part of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report drew its information from various national surveys relating to mental issues. Ileana Arias, principal deputy director of the CDC stated that there are “unacceptably high levels of mental illness in the United States”. She further says that in the previous year about 25% of adults in the U.S. reported having a mental illness. She says that the researchers were surprised at the numbers and the cost to the country from mental health issues. The financial cost, in 2002, has been estimated to be about $300 billion. This is calculated by adding healthcare costs and lost working days.
Arias goes on to say that the reason why there is such a high incidence of mental illness is unknown but it must be dealt with. The link between mental illness and some types of cancer and heart disease further strengthens the case for action. Arias also says that mental illness is just the same as any other chronic illness but tells people that they must accept that they are having problems and take the help that is available. She refutes that mental illness is a sign of weakness or a moral issue but does accept that there may be a stigma attached to a diagnosis of mental illness. Other experts agree that mental illness is difficult enough and the diagnosis can add to the weight on your shoulders.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration carried out a survey in 2009 which found that 11 million people in the U.S. had experienced serious mental illness during the past year. They used the definition of “conditions that affected the ability to function” to classify serious mental illness. It was also found that about 8.4 million Americans, thats approximately 4%, had suicidal thoughts in the past year. Other sombre figures identified were that one million people had attempted suicide and 2.2 million had made some form of plans to kill themselves.
Some people in the medical profession believe that the problem is even bigger than that being reported. Dr. John Newcomer, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, points out that, “For several years the top three drugs were antipsychotic drugs”. He also notes that state Medicaid programs spending on drugs used to treat mental illness is very high. Newcomer also points out what the CDC report did not report on. He explains that the CDC report only deals with patients already in the system, many mental illness sufferers hide their illness. He concludes that under diagnosis and under treatment are big problems.
Dr. Alan Manevitz, a clinical psychiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said “How to deal with emotional reactivity and stress tolerances are also important skills to develop early in life.” He also points out that for some people healthy living can help prevent mental illness. This means sleep regularly, do exercise and eat well. He goes on to stress that we must know how to react to psychological pressure and be able to identify if “you are not functioning well”. He advises that people should always get help if they think that they may have mental health issues.