Healthcare News & Insights

Report: 1 in 5 Americans are mentally ill

The latest report on mental health care in America is enough to make anyone depressed.

About 20% of Americans suffer from some sort of mental illness each year. About 5% have a disorder serious enough to disrupt their family, work or social life. Four percent consider suicide.

Those figures come from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual overview of the state of mental health in the country. The survey is overseen by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The survey is an intensive undertaking, with data pulled from more than 68,000 interviews of randomly selected Americans.

Those most likely to report mental illness to the survey were women, young adults and lower income people.

Of course, being ill is one thing, having access to treatment is another. And on that score, the health care infrastructure isn’t working. Just under half of those with a mental illness receive treatment in any given year. More troubling, only 60% of those with a serious mental illness receive treatment.

Of those who said they needed mental health care and didn’t get it, the reason they gave was an inability to afford it.

Whites and Native Americans were most likely to receive mental health care. Blacks, Hispanics and Asians were less likely.

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