A new study discovers American adults are reporting an increase in mental health disability compared to prior decades.
Ramin Mojtabai, M.D., Ph.D, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health also found that the prevalence of disability attributed to other chronic conditions decreased while the prevalence of significant mental distress remained unchanged.
“These findings highlight the need for improved access to mental health services in our communities and for better integration of these services with primary care delivery,” said Mojtabai.
“While the trend in self-reported mental health disability is clear, the causes of this trend are not well-understood.”
For the study, Mojtabai reviewed data from the U.S. National Health Interview from 1997 to 1999 and from 2007 to 2009. He discovered nearly 2 million more disabled adults self-reported mental health disability in the current decade.
Mojtabai noted the increase in the prevalence of mental health disability was mainly among individuals with significant psychological distress who did not use mental health services in the past year.
Findings showed that 3.2 percent of participants reported not receiving mental health care for financial reasons between 2007 and 2009, compared to 2.0 percent from 1997 to 1999.
The findings will appear in the November edition of the American Journal of Public Health.