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Unemployment made 1 in 5 Americans mentally ill last year

By Nairita Das

London, Nov 21 (ANI): A new US survey has revealed that nearly one in five Americans, or 45 million adults, had experienced mental illness last year.

The report, released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), attributed the rise in depression to those who were unemployed, reports the Daily Mail.

Eleven million of them had a serious mental disorder, with young adults aged 18 to 25 having the highest rate of mental illness at 30 percent while those aged 50 and older had the lowest rate -13.7 percent.

The mental illness numbers jumped slightly over the previous year's 19.5 percent rate, said the report.

"Too many Americans are not getting the help they need, and opportunities to prevent and intervene early are being missed," said SAMHSA administrator Pamela Hyde in a statement.

For many people, losing their jobs has meant losing their health insurance, leaving people who are suffering from psychological conditions unable to get treatment.

"The consequences for individuals, families and communities can be devastating. If left untreated mental illnesses can result in disability, substance abuse, suicides, lost productivity and family discord,' said Hyde.

Last year, the unemployment rate reached its highest levels in 25 years as struggling employers slashed jobs to cope with a weak economy.

The survey found that 6.1 million adults had a mental health problem last year that went untreated, with 42.5 percent saying it was because they couldn't afford it.

The report said that 14.8 million Americans suffered from severe depression last year. Of those, 10 percent of the unemployed, 7.5 percent of the retired or those not in the job force, 7.3 percent of part-time workers and 5.4 percent who worked full-time were depressed.

Only 64 percent of adults aged 18 and older with major depression were treated last year, compared with 71 percent the previous year.

Unemployment also appeared to increase suicidal tendencies, with jobless adults twice as prone to having serious suicidal thoughts as those who were fully employed. About 6.6 percent of the unemployed considered suicide, while only 3.1 percent of those who were working did.

The report also found that 23.8 percent of women suffered from some kind of psychological condition, compared with 15.6 percent of men. (ANI)

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