Recession Driving You Insane? The Government's Here to Help
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In 2005, one of the largest studies of mental illness ever conducted found:
One-quarter of all Americans met the criteria for having a mental illness within the past year, and fully a quarter of those had a "serious" disorder that significantly disrupted their ability to function day to day...
Less than half of those in need get treated. Those who seek treatment typically do so after a decade or more of delays, during which time they are likely to develop additional problems. And the treatment they receive is usually inadequate.
And, as the level of economic pain increases, so does the need for services, as Bloomberg reported last Fall ...
A tidal wave of anxiety is washing over America, from Wall Street's concrete canyons to the lettuce fields of California, propelled by the mortgage industry collapse, costly gasoline, tight credit and rising unemployment.
Operators of telephone help lines, insurers, hospital administrators and therapists, interviewed over the last month, say the financial services crisis, which has caused an explosion of foreclosures, is sending everyday people to mental-health services at levels not seen since the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
But the piss poor mental health care in the US is only getting worse as the econopocalypse unfolds ...
Three years ago, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) gave the United States a D for its mental health care system for adults. The new report, it said, shows only marginal progress -- not enough to warrant a better grade.
Additionally, a "major dark shadow" looms as downturn-forced state budget cuts are threatening such care, according to NAMI.
"Ironically, state budget cuts occur during a time of economic crisis, when mental health services are needed even more urgently than before," NAMI's executive director Michael Fitzpatrick said in a statement. "It is a vicious cycle that can lead to ruin."
Lacking professional treatment, we tend to self-medicate more than the citizens of most other countries as well.
Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet.