Prevalence of Mental Illness

Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.7 million, or 18.6%—experiences mental illness in a given year.
Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—13.6 million, or 4.1%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
1.1% of adults in the U.S. live with schizophrenia.
2.6% of adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder.
6.9% of adults in the U.S.—16 million—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.
Among the 20.7 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 40.7%—8.4 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.
Consequences of Lack of Mental Health Treatment

Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.
Mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18–44.
Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic medical conditions. Adults in the U.S. living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than others, largely due to treatable medical conditions.
Over one-third (37%) of students with a mental health condition age 14­–21 and older who are served by special education dropout—the highest dropout rate of any disability group.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., the 3rd leading cause of death for people aged 10–24 and the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15–24.
More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition.
Each day an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide.

Those are some pretty staggering statistics, and many of them are from 2015 citations. So knowing this, what is your mental/physical health worth to you? What are you willing to pay for quality mental health and wellness treatments? Is your mental health only worth a $20 co-pay?

It’s interesting how much money people are willing to spend on smartphones, designer clothing, cars, and other material things to “keep up with the Jones”, but people are reluctant to spend more than a mere co-pay for mental health treatment and preventative/wellness care.

Most people (who are not in the medical/mental health industry) are not aware that we are not generally paid our full hourly fees when we agree to accept insurance. We are paid a fraction of the hourly fees, and the patient’s co-pay. For this amount we are expected (by the clients) to provide an hour of counseling services when the insurance company is only reimbursing us for 45 minutes. In addition to listening in the sessions, many times we do our own billing and we have to spend time on documentation. When people have serious diagnoses, like those mentioned in the stats above (or when people are suicidal), the documentation is not simple; we have liability issues to consider. This is time consuming.

There are some clinicians who are very strict about only spending the 45 minutes in the sessions, and they will not provide any other services than what the insurance company will cover. So, for example, if your insurance company does not cover completion of medical leave paperwork, your therapist (or doctor) will not likely want to be involved; if your insurance company does not cover any type of services via technology, you will have to always pay a co-pay for a face-to-face visit for all services, and the medical/mental health professionals are not likely going to engage in communication outside of the office visits; if your insurance company does not adequately reimburse for emergency calls or have special weekend rates, you are not likely going to get any services outside of 9-5 Monday-Friday, except a voicemail referring you to the emergency room.

There have been many times in my life that I was on a very tight budget, but if I had quality medical or mental health professionals who went above and beyond on my behalf, it made me no difference whether they were participating in my insurance plan or not. I gladly paid out-of-pocket to get the care that I wanted/needed. I still do, because many of the wellness treatments that I do are not covered by insurance (massage therapy, Reflexology, NES therapy, etc.). I just include these things in my budget because my mental/physical health is very important to me. My philosophy has always been, if I want the providers who come highly recommended by my friends and others I trust, I walk in with a credit card...not an insurance card.

Author's Bio: 

Erin was an adult probation officer in the 81st and 218th Judicial District before becoming a licensed counselor. During her graduate internship, she used her case management experiences in the probation department to enhance her ability to provide assessment, supervision, education, and other services in the areas of substance abuse, social services, anger management, and behavior modification.

Now her specialties are working with civilian couples and active duty military members/spouses. She is an Employee Assistance Program provider who assists with public speaking/presentations for job sites. She also does Critical Incident Stress Debriefings across the San Antonio area, and personal development and supervisor training for businesses, all of which are under the Employee Assistance Program umbrella.

Although Erin has studied the "traditional" counseling techniques and theories, she believes in healing the mind, body, and spirit. She enjoys many non-traditional forms of healing, like meditation, yoga, reflexology, Reiki,and massage therapy. She has integrated and encouraged some of the non-traditional methods into her practice because she has found them to be safe, gentle, non-invasive forms healing that are beneficial for stress management.