In our last article we explored the impact of drug use in the year 2015. Now let’s take a look at the latest developments in mental health in 2015 — trends, statistics and more.
The Numbers of Mental Health
Millions of Americans are affected by mental disorders and their consequences every year. Due to rising rates of diagnosis as well as a greater prevalence of mental illness among Americans, the numbers are surprising. Here are some noteworthy statistics compiled by the National Alliance on Mental Illness:
- Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.— 43.8 million, or 18.5% – experiences mental illness in a given year.
- Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.— 10 million, or 4.2% — experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
- Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.
- Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. Among adults with a serious mental illness, 62.9% received mental health services in the past year
- Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.
- Mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18–44.
- Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic medical conditions. 17 Adults in the U.S. living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than others, largely due to treatable medical conditions.
Mental Health in the Arts
Mental illness has always been prevalent in the arts. From the romantic notion of the tortured genius, to the common belief that great art requires great pain or hardship, our society isn’t terribly shocked when famous artists or musicians develop an addiction or decide to end their lives due to depression. However, most mental illnesses go by unnoticed. In 2015, we noticed a rising trend: people are starting to go into deeper detail to explore the darkness that lives in many people’s minds.
As the web magazine Vulture illustrates beautifully, depictions of mental illness in television have become less contemptuous, and more understanding. More writers than ever before are using characters mental strengths and errors as methods to fully illustrate the complexities of their psyche.
While the trend started years ago with Tony Soprano’s anxiety and depression to Monk‘s OCD, we now have characters like Bojack Horseman, an anthropomorphic horse suffering from narcissism, addiction and depression, to Crazy Ex-Girlfirend a show which makes a sensitive commentary on mental illness, all the while toying with the seriousness of loneliness and anxiety that is slowly becoming popular.
Mental illness was also prevalent in the music scene in 2015. From Kendrick Lamar’s discussion of his suicidal thoughts with MTV, or Brian Harvey smashing his platinum records in an alleyway in midwinter. Artists are rapping, singing, and most importantly, talking about the difficulties that mental illness creates.
Mental Health and Politics
With the rates of mass shootings increasing every year, politicians and presidential hopefuls have been discussing mental health as a gateway to violence, leading to even more stigmatization. While the debate of gun violence and mental illness is a heated one that we wish to avoid, we can safely say that the criminalization of mental health is a dangerous way to continue.
U.S. congress has been discussing how to reform mental health and offer more services than ever before to the people who need it most.
Like these posts? Check out our blog to learn more about the goings-on of drug use and mental health in the news.