The Subsatnce Abuse and Mental Health Services Adminstration is a federal government organization that provides programs toward the prevention of drug, alcholhol and other substance abuse. It conducted a recent survey that revelead depressing trends about the state of our collective mental health.
Results from the “2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Findings" demonstarted that nearly 20% of the American population suffered from some form of mental illness and one-fifth of those had a drug-abuse problem.
One of the most striking findings showed that one million Americans over 18 years of age attempted suicide,. Another 2.2 million had actually made plans, and 8.4 million seriously considered it.
The study also showed that unemployment impacted mental health sharply. Females are more prone to mental illness. The most severe mental symptoms affect young adults between the age of 18 and 25. And that less than 40% of people with mental illness received professional help.
Mental illness is described as severe psycholgical symptoms that affect and interfere with at least one major life actvity, such as work or family relationships.
SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., commented on the report:
"Too many Americans are not getting the help they need and opportunities to prevent and intervene early are being missed. 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.