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Nearly Twenty Percent of Americans Experienced Mental Illness in 2009

By , black-rose-bielefeld.de GuideNovember 23, 2010

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According to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), more than 45 million U.S. adults (nearly 20 percent of the population) had some type of mental illness in 2009. The rate was slightly higher than the previous years number of 19.5 percent. SAMHSA suggests that increased depression among unemployed individuals contributed to the increase.

Mental Illness Report
Photo by Igor Balasanov/iStockPhoto

The report found that mental illness rates were highest among young adults between the ages of 18 and 25, with 30 percent of people in this age range suffering from some form of mental illness last year. Rates were the lowest among those age 50 and over, at 13.7 percent.

Among the other findings in the report:

  • 8.4 million American adults had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year.
  • 2.2 million individuals made plans to commit suicide.
  • One million people attempted suicide.
  • Unemployed adults were twice as likely to have serious thoughts of suicide compared to those who were fully employed.

The survey also found that that individuals with a serious mental illness were also at a higher risk of also have a substance abuse disorder. More than 25 percent those experiencing a serious mental illness also had a substance use disorder, around four times the rate found in those not suffering from mental illness.

"Too many Americans are not getting the help they need and opportunities to prevent and intervene early are being missed," said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. in a press release "The consequences for individuals, families and communities can be devastating. If left untreated mental illnesses can result in disability, substance abuse, suicides, lost productivity, and family discord."

Read more: National survey reveals 45.1 million adults in the U.S. experienced mental illness in the past year

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