Six Key Statistics on the Behavioral Health Crisis in the U.S.

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The behavioral health crisis in the U.S. has reached a critical point in history. With mental health and substance use disorders on the rise — coupled with the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic — the need for better, quicker access to life-changing behavioral health treatment has never been greater.

Unfortunately, millions of individuals go without seeking mental health treatment. According to a report from Mental State of the World, 45% of Americans who needed clinical-level mental health treatment did not seek it due to lack of access to treatment, lack of confidence in treatment, lack of affordability and access, preference of self-help, and the stigma surrounding mental health.

Although our society has made strides in eliminating the stigma and improving access to care, there are still many obstacles we must conquer to better the state of behavioral health in the country.

Here are some statistics showing the magnitude of the behavioral health crisis in America today.

1. About 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness found in a 12-month period, the most common mental illnesses among all U.S. adults were anxiety disorders (19%), depression (8%), post-traumatic stress disorder (4%), and dual diagnosis of multiple mental health disorders (4%).

2. There were 107,622 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2021.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose deaths increased by almost 15% from 2020. However, the percentage in 2021 decreased by half, as overdose deaths rose about 30% from 2019 to 2020.

3. About 21 to 29% of chronic pain patients misuse their prescribed opioids.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse also reported around 8 to 12% of individuals using opioids for chronic pain develop an opioid use disorder.

4. Almost 46,000 Americans died by suicide in 2020.

This figure means that every 11 minutes, a life is taken by suicide. Additionally, in 2020, there were an estimated 1.2 million suicide attempts. Suicide remains in the top nine leading causes of death for Americans ages 10-64, and the second leading cause of death in Americans ages 10-14 and 25-34.

5. Over 26 million individuals with a mental health illness go untreated.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean individuals with mental illness do not seek the help they need. According to Mental Health America, about 22% of all adults with a mental illness reported they were not able to receive the treatment they needed ¬¬— and this figure has not changed since 2011.

6. Each year, around 9.5% of Americans ages 18 and over will suffer from a depressive illness such as major depression, bipolar disorder, or dysthymia (persistent depressive disorder).

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, women are almost twice as likely to experience major depression than men, but men and women are equally as likely to experience bipolar disorder. The average age that most individuals develop major depression is in their mid-20s.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is aiming to change the way Americans access behavioral health treatment. Starting July 16, 2022, in the states that are operationally ready, Americans will be able to dial or text 988 —the new phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — to be instantly connected to mental health professionals at over 180 regional crisis centers.

“As we continue to confront the impact of the pandemic, investing in this critical tool is key to protecting the health and wellbeing of countless Americans — and saving lives. Giving the states a tool to prevent suicide and support people in crisis is essential to our HHS mission of protecting the health and wellbeing of everyone in our nation.”

-Xavier Becerra, Secretary, United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

This quick three-digit phone number aims to improve the behavioral health state of the country and provide critical healthcare when individuals need it most. The efforts to make behavioral health treatment more accessible do not stop here.

Bamboo Health has partnered with several states to support them during the launch of 988 with our Crisis Management System solution. By providing valuable technological assistance to coordinate care, we can play a role in improving the staggering behavioral health crisis in the country.

To learn more about how Bamboo Health can support your state’s crisis management efforts, contact us today.