The number of non-elderly people in the United Stated who are reporting mental health disabilities has gone up.
According to research from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health the number of self-reported mental health disabilities was 2 percent between 1997 and 1999. That figure increased to 2.7 percent between 2007 and 2009, which researchers say is almost nearly two million disabled adults.
These findings highlight the need for improved access to mental health services in our communities and for better integration of these services with primary care delivery, said Dr. Ramin Mojtabai of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. While the trend in self-reported mental health disability is clear, the causes of this trend are not well understood.
The study also found that the occurrence of disability credited to other chronic conditions decreased, while the prevalence of significant mental distress remained unchanged.
To carry out the study, Mojtabai reviewed data from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey. That data covered 312,364 adults ages between ages 18 and 64.
According to Mojtabai, the increase in the incidence of mental health disability was mainly among individuals with significant psychological distress who didn't use mental health services in the past year. His findings also showed that 3.2 percent of participants reported not getting mental health care for financial reasons between 2007 and 2009. Between 1997 and 1999 that number was 2 percent.
The findings will appear in the November edition of the American Journal of Public Health.
In the Sept.2 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it was found that nearly half of all Americans will suffer some form of mental health problem during their lifetime.
That government report was based on data collected and tallied on years of country-wide survey.
The CDC research found also found that additional costs associated with treating those Americans in 2002 were $300 billion. The agency is also unclear why so many Americans suffer from mental illness.
This is an issue that needs to be addressed, said Ileana Arias, principal deputy director of the CDC.