More Than 50M Americans Experienced Mental Illness at Onset of Pandemic
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – In 2019 and on into 2020, essentially the period covering the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, about 21% of adults in the U.S. experienced some form of mental illness, according to the nonprofit Mental Health America.
That is the equivalent of over 50 million Americans.
The century-plus old organization is dedicated to promoting mental health as a critical part of overall wellness and advocates for prevention and intervention services for all.
Its latest, “The State Of Mental Health In America” report, disclosed the following findings from its research:
The vast majority of individuals with a substance use disorder in the U.S. are not receiving treatment and 15.35% of adults had a substance use disorder in the past year. Of them, 93.5% did not receive any form of treatment.
Millions of adults in the U.S. experience serious thoughts of suicide, with the highest rate among multiracial individuals.
The percentage of adults reporting serious thoughts of suicide is 4.84%, totaling over 12.1 million individuals. Eleven percent of adults who identified with two or more races reported serious thoughts of suicide in 2020 — 6% higher than the average among all adults.
Over one in 10 youth in the U.S. are experiencing depression that is severely impairing their ability to function at school or work, at home, with family, or in their social life and 16.39% of youth aged 12-17 report suffering from at least one major depressive episode in the past year. Moreover, 11.5% of youth (over 2.7 million youth) are experiencing severe major depression.
Over half (54.7%) of adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment, totaling over 28 million individuals.
Almost a third (28.2%) of all adults with a mental illness reported that they were not able to receive the treatment they needed. Forty-two percent of adults with AMI reported they were unable to receive necessary care because they could not afford it.
About 10.8% (over 5.5 million) of adults with a mental illness are uninsured. Hispanic adults with AMI were least likely to have health insurance, with 19% reporting they were not covered by insurance.
Just above 6% of youth in the U.S. reported a substance use disorder in the past year. That is equivalent to over 1.5 million youth in the U.S. who meet the criteria for an illicit drug or alcohol use disorder.
And 22.87% of adults who report experiencing 14 or more mentally unhealthy days each month were not able to see a doctor due to costs.
Roughly 59.8% of youth with major depression do not receive any mental health treatment.
Asian youth with major depression were least likely to receive specialty mental health care, with 78% reporting they did not receive mental health services in the past year. In South Carolina, the lowest ranking state, nearly eight in 10 youth with depression do not receive care.
Nationally, only 28% of youth with severe depression receive some consistent treatment (7-25+ visits in a year). Most (57.3%) youth with severe depression do not receive any care.
Nationally, one in 10 youth who are covered under private insurance do not have coverage for mental or emotional difficulties — totaling over 1.2 million youth. In Arkansas (ranked 51), nearly one-quarter of youth with private insurance do not have coverage for mental health care.
The organization also noted that in the U.S., there are an estimated 350 individuals for every one mental health provider.
“However,” the report said, “these figures may actually be an overestimate of active mental health professionals, as it may include providers who are no longer practicing or accepting new patients.”