Mental Illness And Suicide On The Rise Among Americans: Study

18 April 2017, 12:41 pm EDT By Sumit Passary Tech Times
A study revealed that mental illnesses and suicides were at an all-time high in the United States. Researchers indicated that the Great Recession, coupled with lack of proper psychiatric healthcare coverage, led to the rise of these issues.  ( Mario Vedder | Getty Images )

Innumerable studies have evidenced that one's mental health impacts their overall well-being. However, according to researchers, increasing stress levels in all areas of life may be causing serious harm to Americans.

A new study reveals that mental illness is at its highest ever in the United States and subsequently, suicide rates are also increasing rapidly in the country.

Depression And Anxiety On The Rise

The study which aimed to determine serious mental disorders among U.S. citizens shares alarming results. Roughly 3.4 percent or 8.3 million American adults suffered from serious mental illnesses in 2014. According to the researchers, older estimates put this figure at 3 percent or lower.

The study's lead researcher Judith Weissman of the NYU Langone Medical Center stated that the results indicate that mental health issues and suicides are on the rise among the general populace. She also noted that access to proper treatment was becoming harder.

Weissman also blamed most of the cases on the Great Recession, which had a global effect and negatively impacted many Americans. All these factors contributed to the rise in mental health issues, leading to depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

"The Great Recession of 2008 had a tremendous impact on adults with serious psychological distress," noted Weissman.

During this time, and the subsequent years post the Great Recession, the researchers noted that there was a "dramatic decreased utilization" in healthcare, particularly among those who were suffering from psychological distress.

"Although our analysis does not give concrete reasons why mental health services are diminishing, it could be from shortages in professional help, increased costs of care not covered by insurance, the great recession, and other reasons worthy of further investigation," shared Weissman.

How Was The Study Conducted

The study analyzed data from a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2006 and 2014. Each year, around 35,000 families in the United States take part in this survey. This data gave the researchers a broad base of participants to base their findings on.

The researchers revealed that in the nine-year span of the study, affordability of healthcare services declined for people having serious diagnosable psychological conditions, when compared to those without emotional distress. It was further seen that 1 in 10 people with mental illnesses did not have a health insurance, which covered psychiatric treatment.

This lack of proper insurance led to the delay of treatment among the patients. In 2014, roughly 9.9 percent of the people suffering from mental disorders could not bear the cost for psychological treatments vis-à-vis the 8.7 percent who could not afford it in 2006.

Suicide Rates In The United States Increasing

The lack of proper treatment and the growth of depression and other such serious mental illnesses are the primary cause behind the rapid increase in suicides in America. The statistics show that an alarming 43,000 people in the United States commit suicides each year.

"The middle-aged adults that are experiencing this uptick in suicide, the concern is that it's going to go on with the next generation and that it's going to continue," cautioned Weissman.

A better overall healthcare system is what Weissman claims would prevent mental illnesses from growing even further.

The study has been published in the journal Psychiatric Services.

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