People with mood, behavioral problems need access to mental health care

Mental health illnesses have become a major concern in the United States. The National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), the first of its kind to employ an elaborate research design to estimate Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) among a national sample of adults in the U.S. data, reported a 26.2 percent prevalence of mental illness in adults, within a 12-month period during 2001-2003.

In another analysis of NCS-R data, the 12-month prevalence of mental illness was found to be 32.4 percent among adults. While both the analysis considered substance use disorders (SUD) as a mental illness, the estimates excluding SUD reported mental illness in 24.8 percent adults. In addition, the 12-month prevalence of serious mental disorder among adults with a mental illness (26.2 percent) was found to be 22.3 percent, lower than statistics for mild disorders (40.4 percent) and moderate disorders (37.3 percent).

Currently, almost one in five American adults suffers from a mental illness in a given year, while one in 25 adults is subjected to a serious mental disorder. In the light of the alarming rate at which mental health problems are occurring, there is a dire need of introducing effective interventions to make mental health care services available to all.

Factors contributing to deterioration of mental health

The increased prevalence of mental health-related mortality in people is thought to be an outcome of an amalgamation of some mutually interacting factors, which may include:

  • Health system factors – It includes factors including poor leadership, lack of vision and absence of effective policies aimed at addressing the issue properly. These factors affect the overall outcome of the proposed actions in the sense that patients do not have adequate access to health financing due to poor co-ordination of services, thereby contributing to premature death and other related complications.
  • Individual factors – Individual factors that are known to contribute to fatalities related to mental health include lifestyle factors, such as consuming junk food, lack of adequate nutrition, lack of physical activity, substance use, sexual encounters and other risk-taking behavior.
  • Non-medical factors – The non-medical factors contributing to premature death may include ignoring or undermining mental health problems while chalking out public policies, limited coverage to mental health problems in health packages, growing unemployment, stigma surrounding mental illnesses and social discrimination.

Areas requiring improvement

Significant efforts are required on the administrative front to decline the rate of premature mortality in people battling mental health problems. A multi-level approach aimed at addressing the given factors can help bring significant improvement in the current scenario.

One of the studies published online in the journal World Psychiatry in January 2017 suggested that addressing the current state of severe mental disorders should be done on priority basis. It should be part of the broader health agenda. Issues such as violence prevention, nutrition, physical exercise, mental health and substance abuse should be integrated into the broader plan of action for “addressing complex, multifactorial health problems.” Better awareness is needed to remove the stigma associated with mental disorders and addiction and help those suffering to live a sober life post treatment and recovery.

Dealing with mental diseases

The current programs can be strengthened by drawing support from the global initiatives, targeted at improving mental health of people by introducing social, economic and medical interventions. For instance, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 eyes local, national and global targets for countries across the globe in order to achieve projections for global mortality and disease burden by 2030.

Integrating primary care, secondary care and community resources can act as an important determinant towards improving the life expectancy of people with mental health problems. In the mission of bettering lives, the Florida Mental Health Helpline can be your trusted guide. Join our representative on a chat session or call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-846-5588 for information on mental disorder treatment in Florida and evidence-based rehab centers in Florida.

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