Survey: Mental health care inaccessible to many Americans

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Nearly 90 percent of Americans value mental health and physical health equally, yet about one-third find mental health care inaccessible, and more than four in 10 see cost as a barrier to treatment for most people, according to the results of a new survey released today by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.

Nearly half of Americans think they have or have ever had a mental health condition (47 percent), yet fewer than two in five have received treatment (38 percent).The survey shows that, while most people understand that mental health conditions like depression are risk factors for suicide (86 percent), less than half know that anxiety or panic disorders in particular put individuals at increased risk.

The online survey was conducted on behalf of the three mental health and suicide prevention groups by Harris Poll in August 2015 among more than 2,000 U.S. adults and assessed perceptions about mental health and suicide awareness. The survey found:

  • The vast majority of American adults think suicide is at least sometimes preventable (94 percent).
  • More than half of all American adults have been affected by suicide in some way (55 percent).
  • Most adults (93 percent) would do something if someone close to them was thinking about suicide.
  • While most people (67 percent) said that if they were having thoughts of suicide they would tell someone, men are significantly more likely than women to say they would not tell anyone if they were contemplating suicide.
  • More than half (53 percent) did not know that people with anxiety or panic disorders are at risk for suicide, though they were aware that those diagnosed with depression and PTSD are at increased risk.
  • Of those who have received treatment for mental health conditions, most thought it was very or somewhat helpful, whether the treatment was in-person psychotherapy (82 percent), prescription medication (75 percent), or another form of treatment.

SOURCE Anxiety and Depression Association of America; American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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