Wednesday, July 01, 2015

US mental health

In 2011, one in five US adults were estimated to have a mental illness and less than 40% had received mental health services, with 10·8 million reporting an unmet need for mental health care.

Five million American children have mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, and other disorders, which are severe enough to cause substantial life impairment, such as inability to live safely at home or attend school. Findings from a government report showed that 7500 paediatric psychiatrists are currently available serving children and adolescents, which is far from the needed estimate of about 20 000. Children with mental problems such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, low esteem, and suicidal or aggressive behaviours have no adequate central places to turn to for help. No adequate resources nor coordinated action plans exist for parents comfortably accessing mental health services, which could provide desperately needed support in some situations. When mental health problems in children are not well dealt with, the negative effects on growth and development can be profound.

In 2010, an estimated 12·2 million people in the general population in the USA reported using pain relievers non-medically for the first time within the past 12 months.

In the USA, 85% of people in prisons are there because of crimes related to prescription medications, and an additional 458 000 because of a history of substance misuse, being under the influence at the time of arrest, or buying or selling drugs. 356 000 (20%) of individuals in US prisons and jails could have serious mental illnesses, based on data collected from penitentiaries in Maryland and New York. Of those incarcerated, 85% misuse substances; however, only 0·8% with apparent drug disorders receive detoxification treatment and only 0·3% receive maintenance treatment while behind bars.

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