SAMHSA: One in Five U.S. Adults Has Mental Illness

Prevalence of substance abuse or dependency higher in those with mental illness

THURSDAY, Jan. 19 (HealthDay News) -- In the United States in 2010, the prevalence of any mental illness (AMI) in the past year was 20 percent, and that of serious mental illness (SMI) was 5 percent, for individuals aged 18 years or older, according to a report published online Jan. 19 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Researchers from SAMHSA, located in Rockville, Md., investigated trends in mental illness in the United States, based on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health for 2010.

The authors note that, in 2010, there were an estimated 45.9 million adults with AMI in the United States, representing 20 percent of all adults aged 18 years or older. The percentage with SMI was 5 percent. AMI and SMI were more likely among women than men. An estimated 3.8 percent of adults had serious thoughts of suicide; 1.1 percent of adults made suicide plans and 0.5 percent attempted suicide. Twenty percent of adults with AMI met the criteria for substance abuse or dependency, compared with 6.1 percent of adults without mental illness and 25.2 percent of adults with SMI. A total of 13.7 percent of the adult population received mental health services in the past year, including 39.2 percent of those with AMI and 60.8 percent of those with SMI. For those individuals with SMI and substance dependency or abuse, 64 percent received substance use or mental health treatment.

"The prevalence estimates provided in this report will help to inform service providers, administrators, and policymakers in treatment planning and allocation of resources," the authors write.

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