SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Barometer gets surprising insights into America’s behavioral health

The prevalence of mental health problems and substance abuse are two of the most serious public health issues in the American society today. With each passing day, more individuals are falling prey to either or both of these. Although the federal government has been taking a number of steps to curb these issues, there is still a lot to achieve.

In a recent update shared by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA), in its Behavioral Health Barometer, Vol. 4, surprising numbers about the nation’s behavioral health have been revealed putting the nation’s mental and physical welfare at risk.

The report states that approximately 10 million American adults had a serious mental illness in the present year. Moreover, around the same number had also considered committing suicide during the past year. Additionally, around 15.7 million Americans abuse alcohol and 7.7 million abuse illicit drugs.

Study findings on adults

Dr. Beth Han, a researcher at the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality at SAMHSA said that while there is rapid growth in the number of mental health cases reported in the country, it has been found that only about two-thirds of those who need help are able to get it. Factors like lack of awareness, lack of health insurance and the stigmas associated with mental illnesses are few of the common reasons due to which people are not able to get the required help. He further added that since 2011, the number of adults diagnosed with a serious mental illness has remained stagnant at 9.8 million.

The number of people having suicidal thoughts also increased with 9.8 million adults having such thoughts in 2016 as compared to 9 million adults in 2011.

The study by SAMHSA’s researchers was not restricted to observing the mental health issues in the society. Instead, the rapidly growing opioid epidemic was also a key focus of the report. According to it, the misuse of prescription painkillers, such as oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet) or hydrocodone (Vicoprofen) was found to be prevalent among 12.5 million individuals. The likeliness to abuse prescription painkillers was found to be double among people without health insurance as compared to those with an insurance in the past year.

Findings about teens

Teen issues also formed an essential part of the study. According to the report, marijuana use had come down marginally, from approximately 8 percent in 2011 to 7 percent in 2015. With multiple states legalizing its use, it is now increasingly being accepted as a safe drug by many. Cigarette smoking was also reported by fewer teens. As compared to the previous years, a lesser number of teens began using marijuana, drugs or alcohol in 2015.

Mental illnesses were found to be a growing problem even among adolescents. Approximately 3 million teens aged between 12 to 17 years were found to have major depression in 2015. This was found to be particularly severe among girls.

Seeking help is crucial

The behavioral health situation in the United States is grave. Therefore, it is important that one seek professional support at the right time.

If you or someone you know is dealing with mental health issues and looking to connect with one of the best facilities offering mental health counseling programs, the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline can help. Call our 24/7 helpline number 855-653-8178 or chat online with one of our representatives who can assist you with complete information about the mental health facilities in your vicinity.