US continues to face mental health crisis, reveals MHA annual report

Millions of Americans face mental health problems; some speak about it and others choose to remain silent. The agencies at the federal and state levels are taking measures to expand health care services and reach out to as many people as possible, but their efforts are not enough to bring in the desired result.

The Mental Health America (MHA) recently released its annual report, comparing all the 50 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) in terms of several mental health and access measures. The MHA is a community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of people living with mental illness. Though Massachusetts bagged the first position in terms of a lower prevalence of mental illness and higher rates of access to care for adults, youth mental health is worsening overall. According to Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO, MHA, “I wish I could say the mental health of our children is improving. Our report shows the opposite.” Nevada ranks the last, indicating that there is high prevalence of mental disorders among adults who need to be provided with better care.

The state rankings have been determined basis 15 different measures that ranged from adults with any mental illness, and use of drugs to the availability of mental health workforce and lack of required treatment. These rankings include both youth and adult measures and the prevalence and access to care measures.

Here are the measures that make up for the overall ranking:

  • Adults with Any Mental Illness (AMI)
  • Adults and youth with Alcohol Dependence and Illicit Drugs Use (Marijuana, Heroin, Cocaine)
  • Adults with Serious Thoughts of Suicide
  • Adults with AMI who did not get treatment
  • Adults with AMI who reported unmet need
  • Adults with AMI who did not have insurance
  • Adults with Disability who could not consult a doctor due to costs
  • Youth with at least one past year Major Depressive Episode (MDE)
  • Youth with severe MDE
  • Youth with MDE who did not receive mental health services
  • Youth with severe MDE who received some treatment consistently
  • Children with private insurance that did not include mental or emotional problems
  • Students identified with emotional disturbance for an individualized education program
  • Availability of mental health workforce

The top four states after Massachusetts were South Dakota (2), Minnesota (3), Vermont (4) and Connecticut (5), whereas the four states that stood before Nevada were Idaho (47), Indiana (48), Arizona (49) and Mississippi (50).

The report also stated that while 43 million Americans have a mental health condition, 57 percent of them did not receive treatment. One in five people who was screened for mental health disorders harbored thoughts about suicide almost every day.

According to Gionfriddo, it is imperative to address the concerns before the tragedy strikes. “We must continue to improve access to care and treatments, and we need to put a premium on early identification and early intervention for everyone with mental health concerns,” he added.

Rapid increase in mental illness among youth

The report also highlighted the rapid increase in mental illness among youth with a rise in cases of severe depression in five years. Some 50 percent of children aged 11-17 who were screened for mental health disorders thought about suicide or self-harm throughout the week. In addition, 1.7 million children (76 percent), suffering from severe depression did not receive adequate treatment.

According to Gionfriddo, the report clearly stated that too many young people were suffering in silence and were not receiving adequate treatment to live healthy and productive lives.

Mental illnesses are treatable

Mental health conditions involving changes in thinking, emotion or behavior, can start affecting day-to-day functioning and impact personal, professional and social lives. Whether a person is suffering from anxiety, depression or any other mental illness, an untreated condition can have long-lasting consequences. It is important to understand that mental disorders can be effectively treated provided one seeks help in time.

If you know someone struggling with a mental problem, it is time to get him/her professional care and support. At the 247 Mental Health Helpline, we can help you find the finest treatment centers across the U.S. Call us at our 24/7 helpline 855-653-8178 to locate the best 247 mental health treatment center or chat online with a representative to get more information on 247 mental health treatment.