Government and Regulations

Americans Are Getting Healthier in Some Ways

Annual SAMSHA report suggests Americans are receiving more mental health treatment and participating less in substance abuse.


 

The behavioral health of the nation is improving, according to the 2015 National Behavioral Health Barometer report, published recently by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The Barometer covers key health care issues, such as substance use, mental illness, suicidal thoughts, and treatment seeking at the national level. It also includes, for comparative purposes, data from several national surveys to help health care providers and policy makers better understand what is going on state by state.

For instance, among adolescents, between 2002 and 2014, nonmedical pain reliever use, binge drinking, and cigarette smoking declined . Among adults 21 and older, since 2010, the percentage reporting heavy alcohol use in the month prior to the survey had not changed significantly. From 2010 to 2014, the percentage of adults who had thoughts of suicide and number of adults who had a serious mental illness did not change significantly.

The percentage of adults who had thoughts of suicide did not change significantly from 2010 to 2014. The number of adults who had a serious mental illness in the previous year also did not change significantly from 2010 to 2014. The number was higher for women and whites compared with that of blacks, Asians, and Hispanics. Serious mental illness was lower among adults aged ≥ 65 years than in other age groups.

In 2014, 69% of adults with serious mental illness received mental health treatment or counseling the year before being surveyed. The percentage was higher than that of 2012, but not significantly different from any other year from 2010 to 2013. However, in 2014, men were less likely to have received mental health treatment or counseling, and adults aged 18 to 25 years were less likely than those aged 26 to 64 years to have received mental health treatment or counseling.

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