Archive for May, 2009

26% of Americans are mentally ill…

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

At least according to the National Institute of Mental Health. That means 57.7 million people are “suffering” from a diagnosable mental “disorder” in any given year. They claim, per their statistics, that 6% of these are suffering from a “serious” mental illness. To further put that in perspective, my mother had 4 boys. One of us is mentally ill according to these statistics and probability. I think they would probably pick either my oldest or next youngest brothers because they are devoted Christians and this is considered a mental disorder according to the DSM IV. My mother is also a devoted Pentecostal, so it’s obviously genetic. It seems just believing in a Supreme Being is a “crazy notion” to some people and certainly a psychosis that can be “helped” by antipsychotic medication.
What is even more startling to me is that the NIMH says that mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada for ages 15 to 44. The World Health Organization says that mental illness accounts for more than 15% of the burden of disease in “established market economies”, such as the United States.  Our welfare agencies are swarmed by people who are unable to function in their lives because of mental disorders. I would imagine they lump emotional disorders under mental illness, but I think these are different things from my observation.

I also learned recently that 31% of men and 33% of adult women are obese per the CDC. We know that obesity has contributing factors to health problems. There is a whole list of problems like cardiovascular, orthopedic, sleep apnea, and respiratory problems but mental illness was not mentioned in the report I read. It just made me wonder if clearly over 50% of our U.S. population was either mentally ill and disabled or obese and disabled. 50% of our population…makes me wonder how anything can get done productively at all. To me, these two identified national health problems are the easiest to fix. I will acknowledge that the 6% of the serious mentally ill might not be “curable” (I have a theory that they can), but at least the other 20% can be intervened with and brought to a higher level of functionality. I know for a FACT that obesity can be handled and done with enough actual resources that would solve the 30% of our nation of the “side effects” of diseases that come with obesity. As a matter of fact, it’s being done everyday in clinics around the U.S. Unfortunately, it is not the mainstream medical clinics that are having the most success. There are people getting relieved of their mental “illnesses” and living better lives. There are people handling their overweight issues and living healthy lives. My question is why hasn’t the U.S. government, FDA, or the NIMH looked at these cases as clinical evidence and said “let’s do this on a broad scale public health program”? That’s a question we really need to ask ourselves. What do you think?