MENTAL HEALTH BY THE NUMBERS
Mental health week will be celebrated this week, Oct. 2 to 8, 2017. In America alone, close to 50 million adults suffer from a mental health issue. To help you better understand mental health, this article will shed some light on the mental health of children, teens, and adults, as well as mental health as it relates to race and culture.
AMERICAN MENTAL HEALTH
The mental health of Americans has been on the decline in recent years. According to a study from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in 5 American adults experience some sort of mental illness in their lifetime, and about 1 in every 25 will live with a serious mental illness. Anxiety and depression are the main mental illnesses American adults suffer from, followed by bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Almost 42 million adults deal with mental illness, and 10.2 million American adults abuse substances to help self-medicate. Mental illnesses can drag people down to their lowest point in life, which explains why 26 percent of homeless adults in shelters live with a serious mental health condition and 24 percent of state prisoners have a history or mental health issues.
American children and teens show signs of mental health problems earlier and earlier with each new generation. A recent study shows that 20 percent of teens between the ages of 13 and 18 live with a mental health condition. Most experts believe that children and teens suffer from mental health issues because of changes in schedule and friends, a past of mental or physical abuse, peer pressure, and bullying.
Because children and teens are still developing emotionally and mentally, 10 percent have a conduct or behavior disorder, and 1 in 5 have a serious mental illness. About 70 percent of youth in state and local juvenile systems have a mental illness. Because of this and other statistics listed above, suicide is the third leading cause of death among American children and teens as it is often seen as the only way out of a troubling situation they have no idea how to control.
MENTAL HEALTH ACROSS CULTURAL LINES
There is a common misconception that certain races and cultures do not have mental illnesses, but the truth is, every race and culture suffers from them. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, American Indians and Alaskan Natives are the race that suffers most with a mental health condition, followed by Caucasians, African Americans, Latinos, and Asians. Although American Natives and Alaskan Natives are more likely to suffer from a mental health issues, only about 15 percent seek mental health services.
LGBTQ individuals are twice as likely as their straight counterparts to have a mental health condition, and LGBTQ youth are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide.
Good mental health should always be celebrated, and you should continue to learn about it and share it with others. If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental health issue, seek or encourage them to seek mental health services today.