New SAMHSA survey finds that one in five U.S. adults faced mental illness in the past year

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released the results from its 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Among adults ages 18 and up, one in five experienced a mental illness in the past year. This estimate is on par with the rate of mental illness since 2008.

Of those who experienced a mental illness, only about 4 in 10 adults received mental health services. The treatment rate was higher among those with a serious mental illness. Women were more likely than men to receive treatment for depression; more adults with private insurance, Medicaid or CHIP received treatment for depression than those with no insurance

The survey also found that in the past year:

  • Young adults, aged 18 to 25, had rates of mental illness that were twice as high as those 50-years-old and up;
  • 11.5 million adults, 5 percent of the population, grappled with a serious mental illness;
  • Nearly 4 percent had serious thoughts about suicide;
  • The mentally ill had higher rates of substance dependence or abuse than adults without a mental illness

In addition, the survey investigated the mental health issues of adolescents, 12- to 17-years-old, and found that 8.2 percent of this population had a major depressive episode in the past year. Adolescents who experienced major depression used illegal drugs more than twice as often as their peers who had not had a major depressive episode in the past year.

Polaris’ suite of Web-based outcomes management solutions support the assessment and monitoring of mental health and substance use issues among youth and adults. These systems improve the detection rate of behavioral and psychosocial issues, including co-morbid substance abuse and mental health conditions, and help to better ensure people are receiving the services they need the first time around.

In response to SAMHSA’s recommendation for Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), Polaris has also developed systems that can be used in general health settings to streamline the process of linking medical patients with the appropriate specialized substance abuse and tobacco cessation treatment.