The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported last month that almost one in five American adults—a staggering 43.7 million people—experienced a “diagnosable mental illness” in 2012 (2013). These results are consistent with the findings for 2011.
In addition, only 41 percent of those adults with a diagnosable mental illness received any mental health services in the past year. SAMHSA reported that 62.9 percent of those who had serious mental illnesses received treatment, and that those who felt they did not need treatment cited specific reasons as to why they did not receive help. The top three reasons included being unable to afford the cost of treatment, thinking they could handle the problem, and not knowing where to go for treatment (SAMHSA, 2013).
SAMHSA’s report also indicated that 2.2 million youth, from the ages of twelve to seventeen, experienced a “major depressive episode” (2013). This population was also shown to have an elevated risk of substance use disorder than youth who had not suffered a depressive episode.
In order to combat the growing number of adults and children suffering from mental-health-related issues, the Obama administration launched the Mentalhealth.gov website in order to provide information on basic signs of mental health problems. Furthermore, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has expanded “mental health and substance abuse disorder benefits for 62 million Americans,” according to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (SAMHSA, 2013).
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2013). 43.7 million Americans experienced mental illness in 2012. Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/advisories/1312181201.aspx