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Mental Health America: A Review of Mental Health in America

A leading mental health organization, Mental Health America, has continuously researched on current issues regarding mental wellness. Alongside them, there are other studies that are constantly conducted in conjunction to separate researches by other mental health organizations. Among their studies are the top American stressors and the capacity of Americans to deal with them. In this article, we would try to review this particular study and would provide concurrent details from other sources.

Most mental health organizations recognize that the accelerating changes in technology on top of unhealthy lifestyle, negative environmental stressors, and dysfunctional family contribute substantially to the well being of an individual. Americans, in particular, find it difficult to cope with a very busy society. Also, coping mechanisms are unhealthy such as smoking, drug-dependence and other harmful measures.

What are the major stressors in America?

Stress due to financial problems is the leading stressor that bothers most Americans. Almost 50% of our population is bombarded with financial issues that include mortgage payments, monthly bills and deficiencies on bank payments. On the other hand, 34% of all Americans are affected by health issues. A third major stressor is unemployment and underemployment affecting 32% of the American population.

What does statistics say?

In every four American adults there is one that has a diagnosable mental disorder. This translates to 26% of the total population or 57.7 million Americans who are 18 years old and above. However, serious mental illness occurs in one out of 17 individuals. While this is a significantly lower figure as compared with the general number of people with mental disorders, we still cannot negate the fact that mental disorders are the leading sickness in America, not cancer or obesity-related diseases and disorders.

Perhaps among the highest, if not the highest, rate of mental disability is depression or major depressive disorder which affects nearly 15% of the adults' general population. For ages 18 years old and above, depression occurs in close to 7% of the entire population. Mood disorder, on the other hand, affects 9.5% of the total American population with the age of 18 and above. 40 million Americans are susceptible to developing anxiety disorders while there are 15 million Americans suffering from social phobia. Approximately, there are 6.8 million or 3% of the American population is experiencing diagnosable generalized anxiety disorder or (GAD) and 3.5% have representations of Post-Traumatic Disorder. 1% has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, 6 million adults have panic disorder and Schizophrenia makes 2.4 of the American adult population suffer from its symptoms. (Note: The age of the sample size for all figures are 18 years old and above unless stipulated.)

Who is the most stressed American?

The most stressed Americans are the parents while people who feel lesser stress are those who are college students. Their stressors come from interpersonal relationships, financial obligations and career or employments issues. While some mentally ill people may not be aware of some of their problems due to the nature of their disorders, it is still viewed that they are among the people who feel high levels of stress which come from social stigma, personal problems, unemployment and health.

What are the coping strategies?

More than 80% of all stressed Americans find using mass media such as tv and music as a good way to cope to stress. Second to this is through seeking support from family members and ranking third is through meditation and/or prayer.

Let's face it. Regardless of the fact that our government, NGOs and mental health organizations are working closely to make America a bit better place by improving their services, mental health illness still affect our population significantly.


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