Mental illness hits half of young Americans
Almost half of young Americans have had some type of mental health problem in the past year, but few seek treatment.
That's the conclusion of a survey of more than 5,000 US adults aged 19 to 25. It found that mental health disorders were common among both college students and those not in college - but neither group was likely to have had the problem addressed. Just one in four had sought treatment for their problem in the previous year.
Early treatment cuts later risk
This is important because early treatment of depression, anxiety or drug and alcohol dependence can cut the risk that the problem will persist into later life say the researchers writing in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Lead researcher Dr. Carlos Blanco of the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University said: 'These findings underscore the importance of treatment and prevention interventions among college-aged individuals.'
The research was based on a government health survey from 2001-2002 including standard questions used to diagnose substance abuse and other mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety disorders and bipolar disorder.
Of the 5,092 respondents aged 19-25, roughly 46% of college students and 48% of non-college students had had a mental health problem in the previous year.
Alcohol abuse was slightly more common among college students, while their non-student peers were at greater risk of drug abuse. The prevalence of anxiety disorders and mood disorders, which include depression and bipolar disorder, was similar in each group.
Nearly 12% of non-students had a mood disorder, as did almost 11% of students. The rate of anxiety disorders was also around 12% in each group. However, treatment rates were low in both groups, especially for alcohol and drug problems among college students.
Page created on December 15th, 2008
Page updated on December 1st, 2009