Our World is Suffering: Mental Health Illness

Our nation is in the middle of a mental health epidemic. The World Health Organization predicts that by 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disease globally. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that depression impacts more than 26% of U.S. adults, and that nearly 50% of adults will develop at least one mental illness during their lifetime, and the numbers are rising. A Blue Cross Blue Shield study found that in the past few years, depression rates among millennials climbed by 47%, and adolescents, 63%.

 

Financially, mental illness has a tremendous impact on a company's bottom line, dramatically impacting the overall economy. According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression alone costs employers an estimated $44 billion each year in lost productivity. The Blue Cross Blue Shield study of 41 million members showed that those who’ve been diagnosed with depression use significantly more healthcare services: annually, they have 163% more outpatient visits and fill 214% more prescriptions than the total insured population.

 

In the United States, the suicide rate is at the highest it has been in decades. According to the CDC, 47,000 Americans died by suicide in 2017; 14 people for every 100,000. Suicide is now the second-leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 10 and 34, and the fourth leading cause for middle-aged persons. 

 

For our nation’s children, the statistics are even more sobering. Nearly 10% of children – more than six million – have been diagnosed with depression and more than 7% have been diagnosed with anxiety and these rates are growing faster than at any time in modern history. Sadly, even more children go undiagnosed leading towards problems in schools, and struggles with family and friends. Since 2008, the percentage of young people in American who have died via suicide or attempted suicide has tripled to nearly 2 out of every 100 children. Almost every high school child in America today has a friend or classmate – or knows of one – who has died by suicide.

 

Our children are mourning, and too often are ashamed and/or scared to share their feelings with others. The pressures young people face to succeed are immense. Combine that with the bullying that many children experience nearly 24/7 both in person and online and the alarming growth in child mental health issues is not at all surprising.

 

The statistics are frightening, and the lack of solutions staggering. Many state hospitals are now closed, and community outreach programs are stretched to the breaking point. Those with mental health issues – and parents/guardians who are often desperate to help their children – are caught in the middle and are left with no recourse but to turn to their local hospital emergency departments which are not designed to provide short- or long-term help and guidance. In addition, while there are many online resources that provide information related to mental health, traversing the various options is often wrought with confusion and frustration. For example, a simple Google search on “local mental health resources” delivers more than 569 million results.

 

It does NOT have to be this way. Introducting Mental Health Navigators.

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