When you’re grappling with mental health issues, you can feel isolated and alone. It sometimes seems between stigma and societal pressure that it starts to feel like it’s just you that has to deal with the diagnosis you’ve been given. That stops today: according to a recent article in New Scientist, more than 8 million individuals between the ages of 18-64 in the United States ALONE are dealing with some type of mental health concern, 3.4% of the total population.
Every year, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducts an annual national health survey as they have done for the past 60 years. As the article states, “Respondents are asked how often over the past month they felt certain feelings, such as being so sad nothing could cheer them up, or that everything they did was an effort or worthless. The frequency of such feelings gives an indication of whether someone is in serious psychological distress (SPD). An SPD score is highly correlated with mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. It’s also linked to chronic disease, lower socio-economic status, smoking, drinking and a reduced life span.”
Data was studied from 2006 to 2014, and the researcher found that “SPD was more prevalent in women than in men, in middle-aged adults versus younger adults, and in Hispanic and black people versus white people.” The article goes on to express the recession between 2007-2009 could have contributed to the uptick in mental illness, along with stronger financial consequences that could have meant lack of care for those who really needed it, with one alarming statistic: “There was also a marked decrease in the proportion of people who could afford to buy medications after 2008.”
Although these statistics cite a period of time which ended three years ago, we’d argue that the situation is even worse today with political stresses and health care for mental illness and other health concerns in jeopardy. You should know you are not alone, but it is also a call to action for all of us to fight even more for protection and recognition of mental health concerns by our society and government. Those who suffer are not alone and as a society, we must take care of each other. We will continue to work ardently toward this goal, a day where no one need suffer in silence or solitude.