If you know four women, chances are one of them suffers from depression, anxiety, or another mental health issue. More than 45 million Americans battle mental illnesses each year, and women make up the majority of those affected, according to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Representatives from SAMHSA conducted in-person interviews with a random nationally representative sample of over 65,000 Americans ages 12 and over. They extrapolated their findings to estimate that about 23 percent of adult American women experienced a mental illness last year, compared to 15.9 percent of American men. The survey also found that people who suffer from mental illnesses are more likely to struggle with substance abuse and dependence. Mental illness diagnoses include the most common mood disordersÃ¢â‚¬”depression and anxietyÃ¢â‚¬”as well as other disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, dementia, and AlzheimerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s disease.
Unfortunately, these rates are on par with SAMHSAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s last national survey in 2010. One likely explanation: people who need help donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t always get it. In fact, only four out of ten adults who suffer from mental illnesses were treated for it last year. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s bad news, considering an estimated 8.5 million American adults have seriously considered suicide, 2.4 million made suicide plans, and 1.1 million actually attempted to end their lives in 2011, according to survey data. Additionally, people with depressive mental disorders are also more likely to develop chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and obesity, according to a 2005 review of over 100 clinical studies published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.
If you or someone you know may be considering suicide or dealing with emotional distress, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or 911 for immediate medical help. Otherwise, find mental health services near you with this locator.
If substance abuse or addiction is affecting you or a loved one, call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for support, or locate a local substance abuse treatment center with this finder.
photo: Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Thinkstock
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