Non-elderly Americans are reporting more mental health disabilities now than they did in 1997—especially those who already suffer from other chronic conditions. This finding comes from a new study published online last week in the American Journal of Public Health.
The study’s key researcher was Ramin Mojtabai, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who looked at 312,364 patients between the ages of 18 and 64 years from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey between 1997 and 2009. Mojtabai investigated trends in mental health disability, looking closely at their correlation to physical disabilities and psychological stress, and found that self-reported mental health disability increased by .7 percent over the past decade.
The increase may seem minute, but all told that’s an additional two million disabled American adults. Meanwhile, disability attributed to other chronic conditions declined, while there was no change noted in the rate of significant psychological distress.
“These findings highlight the need for improved access to mental health services in the community and for better integration of these services with primary care,” wrote Mojtabai.
Why do you think more people are reporting mental health disability in the U.S. these days?
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