The prevalence of self-reported mental health disabilities increased in the U.S. among non-elderly adults during the last decade, according to a study by Ramin Mojtabai, MD, PhD, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. At the same time, the study found the prevalence of disability attributed to other chronic conditions decreased, while the prevalence of significant mental distress remained unchanged. The findings will appear in the November edition of the American Journal of Public Health.
For the study, Mojtabai reviewed data from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey covering 312,364 adults ages 18 to 64 years. He found that the prevalence of self-reported mental health disability increased from 2.0 percent of the non-elderly adult population from 1997 to 1999 to 2.7 percent from 2007 to 2009. According to Mojtabai, the increase equates to nearly 2 million disabled adults. He also 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.
Beginning in 2014 when the Affordable Care Act fully kicks in, if the Supreme Court does not strike it down and if Republicans cannot find a way to kill it, almost all Americans will have health care coverage and this rate of psychiatric disability should decrease. If you are concerned about the number of people going on Social Security disability, you ought to be concerned about the state of health care in this country because they are directly related.