Despite all the debate about health care reform in this country, very little has been said about the need for more mental health care. If you're suffering from depression, another mood disorder, or other forms of mental illness, you'll find it's not easy to get the help you need. And if you do find the right doctor or therapy, you may end up battling with your insurance company to pay for it.
One of the reasons this situation doesn't get better is that there is still a real stigma attached to mental illness. People you barely know might volunteer way too much information about their gall bladder operation but even close friends may not share their struggles with depression or other mental illnesses.
A new study from the Centers for Disease Control might help to dispel some of the misconceptions surrounding mental illness. The DCD reports that approximately half of all Americans suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lifetimes.
Using 2009 data, the researchers concluded that nearly 5 percent of American adults (11 million people) had suffered from a mental illness in the preceding year. About 8.4 million thought seriously about suicide, about 2.2 million made plans to actually commit suicide and about one million attempt to end their lives.
The report also showed geographical differences. Depression rates were highest in the southeastern states and the West. The incidence of "serious psychological distress" was also highest in the southeast.
A report like this highlights the fact that mental illness is a major public health problem. Denying its existence won't make it go away.