Help with mental health illnesses is increasingly available in the United States. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 43.7 million people in the United States “experienced a diagnosable mental illness” in 2012. Close to 41 percent of adults did not receive mental health services.
Here are the top three reasons people did not receive help with mental health illnesses:
- They could not afford mental health services.
- They felt they could handle their problem without treatment.
- They did not know where to go to get treatment.
In 2012, the report by SAMSHA also found that 2.2 million youth between the ages of 12 and 17 had major depression episodes. In addition, youth who experienced major depression were three times more likely to have a substance use disorder compared to their counterparts who did not have a major depressive disorder.
Improved help with mental health illnesses
U.S. President Obama and Vice-president Biden expressed their concern to expand mental and substance use disorder benefits for close to 62 million Americans. They proposed a budget initiative to make it easier for people fraught with mental illness to search for help and support. To help people find answers, obtain information, and locate help, the current administration launched a new website called MentalHealth.gov. Additionally, SAMSHA announced two grant funding opportunities available to help improve mental health services for young people:
- Planning Grants for Expansion of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program – this grant program will provide $8 million in funding to assist states, political subdivisions, tribes, or territories to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for improving, expanding, and sustaining services provided through a system of care approach for children and youth with serious emotional disturbances and their families.
- Implementation Cooperative Agreements for Expansion of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and their Families Program – this grant program will provide $23 million in funding to enable states, political subdivisions, tribes, or territories to improve behavioral health outcomes for children and youth with serious emotional disturbances and their families.
New SAMSHA findings on suicide
According to SAMSHA, improved help with mental health illnesses is warranted for the prevention of suicide, as well. SAMSHA found 9 million American adults had serious thoughts of suicide, 2.7 million adults made plans to commit suicide, and 1.3 million attempted suicide.
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) if you or someone you know is in crisis and believe might be at immediate risk of attempting suicide. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network is funded by SAMSHA. Counseling is free and confidential--available 24 hours a day.
Read more of George Zapo’s articles about public, global, and environmental health at his website: georgezapo.com.