Utah’s mental health statistics have been higher than national data in the last two years. The state reported 20.7% of adults with mental illnesses in 2019 when the U.S. had 20.2% (Mental Health America [MHA], 2020). The 2020 prevalence data shows that 19% of Americans experienced mental illnesses while the rate was 25.25% for Utah State (MHA, 2020). The prevalence of mental diseases has increased worldwide in the last year due to the pandemic.
Access to mental healthcare continues to be a concern in the U.S. and worldwide. The number of uninsured adults with mental disorders rose by 0.5% from 2019 to this year’s 10.8% (Mental Health America, 2021). Such an upsurge should raise the alarm as the first time a surge of uninsured Americans was reported since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passage. Utah documented 11.7% of uninsured adults with mental illnesses between 2020 and 2021 (MHA, 2021). Positively, Utah’s rate of adults who did not receive care in these years was at 51.2% lower than the national rate of 57% (MHA, 2021).
This is a Problem
According to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2020), “COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted or halted critical mental health services in 93% of countries worldwide” (para. 1). Low-income countries are grappling with the number of untreated mental health patients, reaching 80% in 2020 (WHO, 2020). Funding has left most patients untreated as low-income countries allocate only 1% of their health budgets to mental health (WHO, 2020). Globally, anxiety and depression are the leading mental health illnesses in both high and low-income countries.
Mental health illnesses result from environmental, lifestyle, genetic, and brain chemistry factors. Ecological factors include domestic violence, unemployment, physical diseases, and abuse, while lifestyle factors comprise lack of enough sleep, poor diet habits, and use of drugs (Furnham & Swami, 2018). Genetic factors contribute to illnesses that run in families, such as schizophrenia. Since medications for some mental disorders work through brain chemicals, scientists feel that dopamine and serotonin could link with the illnesses (Furnham & Swami, 2018). Nevertheless, most mental health diseases tend to be very personal and cannot be explained by these factors.
Furnham, A., & Swami, V. (2018). Mental health literacy: A review of what it is and why it matters. International Perspectives in Psychology, 7(4), 240-257.
Mental Health America. (2020). 2020 ranking guidelines.
Mental Health America. (2021). 2021 ranking guidelines. Web.
World Health Organization. (2020). COVID-19 disrupting mental health services in most countries, WHO survey.