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9:40 AM Tue, Sept. 25th

National report finds one in five Americans experienced mental illness in the past year

A new national report reveals that 45.9 million American adults aged 18 or older, or 20 percent of this age group, experienced mental illness in the past year. The rate of mental illness was more than twice as high among those aged 18 to 25 (29.9 percent) than among those aged 50 and older (14.3 percent). Adult women were also more likely than men to have experienced mental illness in the past year (23 percent versus 16.8 percent).

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 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-IV.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health also shows that 11.4 million adults (5 percent of the adult population) suffered from serious mental illness in the past year. Serious mental illness is defined as one that resulted in serious functional impairment, which substantially interfered with or limited one or more major life activities.

"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."

The report also noted that an estimated 8.7 million American adults had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year - among them 2.5 million made suicide plans and 1.1 million attempted suicide. Those in crisis or knowing someone they believe may be at immediate risk of attempting suicide are urged to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). And, locally, they can call West Yavapai Guidance Clinic at 445-5211.

In addition, West Yavapai Guidance Clinic is available to share a brief presentation with groups on the signs and symptoms of suicide, along with how to direct people to help locally. Should you be interested in scheduling such a presentation, email L.Norman@wygc.org.

The complete survey findings from this report are available on the SAMHSA website at http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2k10MH_Findings/.