Mental Health by the Numbers

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With changes in store for the Affordable Care Act and the possible elimination or reduction of benefits for mental health and substance use disorders, it is vital to take a look at the current status of American healthcare. Do we currently have enough resources to serve people living with mental health and substance use disorders? What will happen if benefits are reduced? Where will people go for help? What will happen to those people who can’t get help?

Consider the following statistics:

44 Million Americans experience mental health problems in any given year. Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness

10-25 years shortened lifespan for an adult living with a mental health or substance use disorder. Source: American Journal of Managed Care

68% of adults with a mental health disorder also have a physical condition. Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

25% of individuals treated for a primary-care problem also have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Source: Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

12% of people in the U.S. living with a mental health or substance use disorder receive care from a psychiatrist and only 22% receive care from any type of behavioral health specialist. Source: Hospital and Health Networks, May 2017

In 25 years the Federal government estimates that there will be shortage of 6,000 to 15,400 psychiatrists. Source: Hospital and Health Networks, May 2017

8.6 million Hospital stays in 2012 involved at least one mental health or substance use disorder diagnosis. Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

We are facing a decisive point in healthcare. These figures describe large populations requiring mental health and substance use treatment . The impact of these health problems on their physical health leads to a reduced lifespan for many. Can we even begin to consider further changes which will lead to fewer resources for mental health and substance use? The impact of reducing benefits and funding for mental health and substance use treatment will have huge implications for our healthcare system—and those Americans who suffer from mental illness will be the most affected..

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