More than 8 Million Adults have Mental Health Issues

Danielle Anzures, Staff Writer

More than 8 million adults, around 3.4 percent of the population in the US, have mental health issues and are 10 times more likely to struggle to pay for health care service. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, conducted their annual national health survey where respondents were asked how often they felt certain emotions, like feeling as though everything they did was useless or being so sad that nothing could cheer them up. The occurrence of those feelings gave the CDC an indication of whether someone was in serious psychological distress, also known as SPD.

An SPD score is connected with mental health issues like depression and anxiety, it’s also found to be linked with chronic disease, lower socioeconomic status, smoking, drinking and a reduced life span. Judith Weissman, an epidemiologist at the NYU Langone Medical Center, studied that data from the survey of the 200,000 respondents between 2006 to 2014 and found that SPD was more prevalent in women than in men, in middle-aged adults versus younger adults, and in Hispanic and black people versus white people. Weissman also found that with SPD rates going up, access to mental health care was falling.

Weissman said that the recession that happened between 2007 and 2009 may have caused the increase in mental illness and the financial consequences would have made it more hard on those who needed health care the most. While mental health service increased between 2006 and 2014, it also became more difficult to attain for people who needed it.

“People who had mental illness just could not recover. Maybe they were holding it together, they had a job, they had some resources, and then they got wiped out with this recession and they couldn’t get back on their feet,” said Weissman in an article from the New Scientist. “There is this generation of middle aged adults that are really suffering right now and if policies change, if we increase access to mental health care and we increase coverage for mental health care, we can save the next generation.”

 

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