Mental illness increasing, seeking help decreasing

According to a study carried out by Dr. Ramin Mojtabai and published in the American Journal of Public Health last week, the number of adults in the US reporting the life changing impact mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and other emotional problems is more than ever before.

The study examined the responses of 300,000 American adults aged between 18 and 64 on an annual survey for ten years, the sample size and duration of the research is such that the results should be highly reliable.

It was concluded that there was an increase of 2 percent equating to approximately 2 million more people in 2009 than in 1999 reporting that they were unable to complete daily activities due to the influence of mental illnesses .

It was included in the study that there was not an increase in psychological distress experienced by the people surveyed in 2009 compared to the early years of the study but that the illnesses had more of a negative effect everyday life.

The results of this study could be ambiguous; either they could suggest that more people are aware of the mental illnesses and can recognise their own symptoms or that there is greater psychological stress and distress in recent years. Stressful economic times including higher levels of unemployment could be one influence for the increased prevalence of mental illness.

However possibly the most distressing reports from the study show that in 2009 even less people were receiving help for their mental illnesses from therapists, psychologists or psychiatrists. The drop of 1.2 percent could be evidential of a lack of support readily available for the growing number of people reporting mental health problems.

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