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Mental illness epidemic

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are looking more closely at mental health issues. What they have discovered is that about half of American will experience some kind of mental health problem at some point in their life and most won’t seek treatment.

Furthermore, over eight million American had suicidal thoughts in the past year while over two million actually made plans to kill themselves. Over one million people made suicide attempts.

“There are unacceptably high levels of mental illness in the United States. Essentially, about 25 per ent of adult Americans reported having a mental illness in the previous year. In addition to the high level, we were surprised by the cost associated with that – we estimated about $300 billion in 2002,” explained Ileana Arias, principal deputy director of the CDC.

Mental health issues include depression and post traumatic stress syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety, dementia and thoughts of self harm. “It isn’t clear why so many Americans suffer from mental illness. This is an issue that needs to be addressed. Mental illness is frequently seen as a moral issue or an issue of weakness. It is a condition no different from cancer or other chronic diseases. People need to accept the difficulties they are having and avail themselves of the resources that are available,” wrote Arias.

Mental illness can be expensive to treat, especially if there is no insurance to cover it. Mental illness also often carries a social stigma. These could be reasons why people delay or avoid treatment.

Source: Medical NewsToday

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