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New information from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers some positive news about mental health trends among Americans.
During the period from 2008 to 2012, there was a reduction in the number of adolescents smoking and in the number of young adults using prescription pain medications. There also was a significant increase in the number of people receiving treatment for heroin addiction. Importantly, the number of people receiving outpatient mental health counseling and treatment services through Medicare increased by 30%.
It’s heartening to see that public health and behavioral health efforts may be helping so many people, and that so many people are accessing psychological and psychiatric treatment for depression, anxiety, substance abuse problems and more.
However, there also was indication that much more needs to be done. There was an increase in past-year depressive episodes among adolescents, with no corresponding increase in depression treatment.
Excerpts from related article below:
From 2008 to 2012, for example, many fewer adolescents aged 12 to 17 smoked cigarettes, dropping from 9.2 percent to 6.6 percent. This downward trend was observed among all ethnicities, with the largest decline seen among Hispanics—with use dropping from 7.9 percent to 4.8 percent.
There were also downward trends in prescription painkiller usage among youth, which decreased from 9.2 percent to 8.7 percent from 2007 to 2011, as well as for adults aged 18 to 25, which fell from 12 percent to 9.8 percent.
The Barometer study also showed that more people are receiving needed help in some “crucial areas.” From 2006 to 2010, the number for people receiving buprenorphine treatment for heroin addiction jumped 400 percent. In addition, the number of people getting outpatient treatment for behavioral health concerns through Medicare increased by more than 30 percent during this same time span.
On the downside, the Barometer showed that from 2008 to 2012, the rate of past-year depressive episodes among 12- to 17-year-olds rose from 8.3 percent to 9.1 percent, with no observed changes in mental health services provided to this population.
Though the prevalence rate for serious mental illness was relatively stable among women from 2008 to 2012, the rate in men increased from 2.6 percent to 3.2 percent. Men were, however, less likely to receive treatment for mental illness than women were—58 percent versus 66 percent, respectively.
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