To understand why reading that one out of every five Americans suffers from mental illness is unsettling, take a stroll in your neighborhood and count the number of people you walk past. Say the word “Mental” to yourself after each fifth person you see. You’re eventually going to tell yourself “Damn, that’s a lot of people.”
Here are my quick and dirty takeaways from reading the US Government’s 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health:
- Joblessness and poverty are clear drivers behind the country’s deteriorating mental health. Fix the economy and plenty of brains will get fixed as a result.
- 30% of 18-25 year olds suffer from mental illness. That’s nearly one out of every three 18-25 year olds you meet. Try that walking exercise again…
- The most common reason for not getting mental healthcare is – no surprise – not being able to afford it.
I know how Americans love to ask about racial breakdown: Asians – 15.8%; Hispanics – 18.3% among, American Indians or Alaska Natives – 18.7%; Blacks – 19.7; Whites – 20.6%; folks reporting two or more races – 25.4 percent. We can have a lively discussion about these percentages…
I’ll compare the overall metrics with anything the good folks at OECD may have later, but it’s not good news to be the richest country in the world and have 20% of your citizens burdened with mental issues…
song currently stuck in my head: “I cover the waterfront” – sarah Vaughn
Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Findings
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website