As the month of May – Mental Health Awareness Month – approaches, the alarming data highlighted in media reports and on the websites of mental health organizations is worth keeping in mind. The need to respond has not diminished, as the numbers clearly remind us.
Among the data points representing individuals, families and communities that continue to face an eternal life and death struggle:
· Nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness (52.9 million by 2020), according to the National Institute for Mental Health.
· Young people aged 18-25 years have the highest prevalence of Any Mental Illness (30.6%) compared to adults aged 26-49 years (25.3%) and who age 50 and older (14.5%).
In 2019, 13 percent of teens reported having a major depressive episode, a 60 percent increase from 200.
· For people ages 10 to 24, the suicide rate, stable from 2000 to 2007, jumped nearly 60 percent by 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
· Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States in 2019, claiming the lives of more than 47,500 people. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in people between the ages of 10 and 34, and the fourth leading cause of death in individuals between the ages of 35 and 44.
· There were nearly two and a half times the number of suicides (47,511) in the United States than homicides (19,141) in 2019.
· From 1991 to 2017, suicide attempts among Black teens increased by 73 percent, compared to an 18 percent increase among white teens.
· The suicide rate jumped especially for Black women, rising 6.6 percent per year on average from 2003 to 2017.
· Percentage of adults with mental illness who did not receive any mental health treatment: 56% Number of adults with mental illness who did not receive any mental health treatment: 27 million.
· Percentage of young people with severe depression who received consistent treatment: 27.2%. Number of young people with severe depression who received consistent treatment: 661,000.
· Number of U.S. adults with mental illness with uncertainty: 5.5 million. Number of young people with private insurance that does not cover mental or emotional problems: 950,000.
· Among youth ages 12–17 in Connecticut during 2015–2019 who had a Major Depressive Episode last year, an annual average of 44.2% (or 16,000) received care. depression last year, equal to the same regional average (48.5%) and the national average (41.4%), according to a national SAMHSA report.
· More than a quarter of adults who experienced severe psychological distress in the past year in the U.S. report an unanswered need for mental health care. Nearly half of people viewed as needy reported that they did not receive treatment because they could not afford it.
Among the field organizations here in Connecticut are Mental Health Connecticut, which is committed to educating people about mental illness and mental health through community forums, workshops, materials, and events; advocates for improved, expanded and expedited mental health services; and offering a variety of programs and services to improve the well-being of people with mental illness in our communities. www.mhconn.org
A recent WTNH News8 series highlights aspects of CONnecticut’s challenges; see the program sections, Mental Health Matters, here.