According to the new annual report by Mental Health America, over half of adults with a diagnosed mental health condition receive no treatment whatsoever.
The results are even more sobering for teenagers and young adults. While the rates of diagnosed depression and mental illness continue to rise, over 80% of those in this demographic do not receive any treatment.
Currently, 20% of adults in the United States, or 43.7 million people, suffer from a mental illness.
The disparity in treatment was highlighted in the Deep South, where there was an overall lack of options. This was demonstrated most heavily in Alabama and Mississippi, who each also have a high rate of incarcerated individuals with mental health issues.
The states with the best care and lowest prevalence of mental illness were Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, respectively. On the lowest end of the spectrum came Oregon, Arizona and Nevada, with the highest prevalence of mental illness and the fewest treatment options available for those seeking it.
The states with the highest prevalence of mental illness amongst youth and the fewest treatment options for them were Oregon, Arizona and Arkansas, while the states with the fewest mentally ill youth and best treatment options were Minnesota, South Dakota and Connecticut.
Paul Gionfriddo, president of Mental Health America, stated:
“Once again, our report shows that too many Americans are suffering and far too many are not receiving the treatment they need to live healthy and productive lives. We must improve access to care and treatments, and we need to put a premium on early identification and early intervention for everyone with mental health concerns.”
Gionfriddo also noted that many states with the least access to mental healthcare spent more money on incarceration than they did on these services.
He feels that if states invest more time, effort and money into mental healthcare, it may be true that they will be spending less money on their prison system. It may also be a way to keep mentally ill people out of prison and make an effort to live normal, productive lives.
Ensuring proper mental healthcare is available can make a world of difference in the lives of many, and the survey proves the United States has a long way to go.