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Mental Health Facts, Barriers, and Solutions

Updated: May 4, 2022

Mental Health across the world is a major human problem that does not get the attention it deserves.

When taking a quick look around the web there are lots of articles about mental health facts but….. In those articles, there is very little analysis or conversation around those facts.

This article will not only give you mental health facts but also analyze those facts, put the mental health landscape into perspective, and give some solutions to the problems we face. 

We will first take a look at the global issues around mental health starting with the facts, give some analyses, and finally, provide some solutions.

World Wide Facts

It is estimated that 20% of children and adolescents have mental disorders. About half of those disorders start before the age of 14.

Neuropsychiatric disorders are the leading cause of disabilities in youth. Neuropsychiatric disorders include seizures, attention deficits, cognitive deficits, palsies, uncontrolled anger, migraine headaches, addictions, eating disorders, depression, anxiety and many others.

In a 2018 study on premature deaths, it was estimated that mental disorders were the leading cause of shortening life. Of all the years tallied and studied about 23% of years lost were due to mental disorders. 

A good amount of those years lost was due to suicide. Each year over 800,000 people commit suicide and it projected that 2019 will be the first year to eclipse 1 million suicide deaths.

Other studies show that for every one suicide death an estimated 20 other people attempted suicide and failed. 

One of the biggest challenges to treating mental illness is the stigma of mental health disorders. Mental health treatment in most cases is extremely effective but getting patients to take the help is often a problem.

A recent survey asked why help was not sought out and 87% said they did not want the label of being crazy or having a mental illness.

Analysis of the Facts

The most obvious observation of the world wide facts is that money has a major impact on mental health and mental health treatment.

The lower the economic status of a country the higher the mental health issues the country has. At the same time, the country has fewer resources to help fight mental health issues.

The economy is not the only major factor contributing to higher mental health issues.

Violence leads to just as many health issues as poverty. Any country that is in the middle of a war zone or has high violent crime statistics also has high mental health issues as well.

When the two contributing factors are present in one country those countries almost always top a list of major health issues and suicide rates. 

What Can Be Done

The world health organization listed five major barriers that impede proper mental health care in countries. Those barriers are-

  1. Absence from Mental Health In Public Agenda

  2. Current Organization of Mental Health Care in Countries

  3. Lack of Integration in Primary Health Care

  4. Inadequate Human Resources in Mental Health Care

  5. Lack of Public Leadership on Mental Health Care

Most people assume to improve mental health care a large amount of money is needed but in fact, improvement to mental health care requires small amounts of funding.

It is estimated that in poor regions 2 dollars per person would adequately cover mental health and in high-income countries 4 dollars per person could cover mental health services for a year.

To improve on the global mental health crisis we must start to push mental health as a priority target policy. Planning, funding, and training are the biggest needs on a global scale and getting world governing bodies to address these issues is the first step. 

The first step is always the most important and once the first barrier is overcome taking on the next four will be the next objective, but until mental health becomes a public agenda it will all be for nothing.  

Facts About American Mental Health and American Mental Health Services

1 in 100 people in America have been diagnosed with Schizophrenia. This comes up to about 1.2 million adults in America that have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. 

2.6 out of 100 people have bipolar disorder in America. Close to 2.6% of the population has bipolar disorder which is 6.1 million adults in America. 

6.9 adults out of 100 have clinical depression in America. A total of 16 million people in America deal with major depression. 

Lastly, 18.1% of adults in America deal with an anxiety disorder. That means a whopping 42 million adults in America deal with an anxiety disorder.

Impacts on the USA

Depression is the leading cause of disabilities in the United States. Its strain on primary caregivers and our health care system cannot be overstated. 

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that of those who committed suicide 90% of those people have underlying mental health issues, most undiagnosed.

Effects of Mental Health in the US

People with mental health are far more likely to have physical issues due to the strain of stress on the body.

People with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population. People with serious mental illness are nearly twice as likely to develop these conditions.

Substance abuse is also far more likely with people who have depression. In the United States, almost 20% of people with depression also have a substance abuse problem. 

Depression doesn’t just affect your body, it affects your ability to focus and complete tasks. The inability to focus is why there is a larger percentage of unemployed among depressed people than the general unemployment numbers. 

Depression in high school students also leads to a 50% higher chance of dropping out than those not affected by depression.

Effects on Family

It has been estimated that 8.7 million people in the US provide care to adults with mental or emotional issues. 

These caregivers give up an estimated 32 hours a week, on average, caring and providing assistance to loved one that is unpaid.

Effects on Others in the US

A resounding 12.5% of all hospital visits in the USA are directly correlated with mental or emotional issues. 

It is estimated that Americans lose $193.2 billion dollars in earners a year due to depression. Depression often leads to missing work days or worse losing your job. Those missed worked days and potential salary are the leading contributors to depressed Americans losing money.

Of the US’s homeless population almost 20% have serious mental health issues and close to 50% have a form of mental health issue. These issues are often undiagnosed due to a lack of care options. 

Of the adult population that is incarcerated in the US, almost 37% have major mental health problems. Considering the United States has the highest incarcerated population in the world mental health to be a leading contributor. 

A more resounding 70.4% of juveniles in the just system have major mental health issues.

Possible Solutions

When facing any of the aforementioned mental health barriers, or when assisting a loved one who is, it can be difficult to tell where to begin to gain help. Regardless of whether it is you, your child, a relative, or a friend, there are options out there to find help. 

Mental health services range across several topics, types, and professionals, so it is important to find the right service for your needs.

It is okay to meet with several different professionals or try out a few different scenarios to see what works best for you and your loved ones. Ultimately, you should feel comfortable and at ease with whoever you decide to work with. 

To begin your journey to breaking down mental health service barriers and to seek fulfilling help, try out a few of these options: 

  • 1-800-Suicide Hotline: if you or someone you know is in immediate danger, always call 9-1-1; 1-800-suicide and other mental health hotline numbers are available to you to speak with a trained crisis counselor within minutes; this is not a substitute for long-term therapy, but speaking with someone when you are in a crisis can help allieviate immediate mental health stress and help you plan a long term solution 

  • Crisis Text Hotline: the crisis text line, and similar text hotlines, allow you or someone you know to connect with a trained volunteer crisis counselor within minutes via text or online chat; text hotlines are highly valuable to those who are deaf, mute, or suffer from the inability to speak during panic attacks or other stressful moments, although this service is available to anybody at anytime 

  •  A Psychologist: psychologists will assist you with identifying any mental health issues you may be suffering from and help provide a diagnosis; they are eligible to prescribe medications if you and your doctor agree that is the right option

  • A Therapist: a general therapist or counselor will help you find clarity with the decisions in your life and help you talk through the struggles you are facing; they do not specialize in diagnosis but can assist with working through mental health struggles or other daily stressors

  • Family Therapist: family therapy will allow you and your children, or your family relationships in general, to work through issues you all may be facing together; they may assist as a mediator for difficult conversations and will help each family member work through any tough situations you are all facing as a unit

  • Child counselor: child counselors and child psychologists are professionally trained to work directly with children and young adults; if your child is suffering from a mental health disorder, or extreme stress, a child counselor can help them function with more stability through their hard times and develop coping mechanisms 

  • Social Worker: social workers are specifically trained in assisting families and dealing with children; they are available if you think your child is in danger, and they help you solve and cope with difficult situations you all may be facing together with additional resources; a clinical social worker can also diagnose mental health disorders and prescribe treatment options 

  • Divorce counselor: a divorce counselor or separation therapist is available when you and your partner are going through a rough patch; regardless of whether the divorce is amicable or fraught with tension, a divorce therapist can act as a mediator and also assist in working through persistent issues 

  • Support Group: support groups are available to help you connect with people who are going through similar situations as yourself; regardless of whether you are facing mental health struggles or you are assisting someone who is, there are support groups for every person to provide community and support

  • Group Counseling: while a support group lends a community spirit for difficult times, group counseling sessions focus on individual change; in a group setting you will work through mental health difficulties with an intention of imposing changes on yourself and your behavior, while also having group accountability

Contact us today to see how we can help you and your loved ones with mental health barriers

Our Resources

The statistics and health facts have been gathered from this list of reputable resources. Each article is a plethora of knowledge in its own right and worth reading.

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