More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Only Half Of Psychological Distress Sufferers Received Mental Health Services
January 12, 2009

An estimated 24.3 million people aged 18 years or older experienced serious psychological distress (SPD) in the past year ? and only 44.6 percent of them received any kind of mental health services, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Serious psychological distress is an overall indicator of past-year mental health problems such as anxiety and/or mood disorders.

"This report shows that mental health problems affect almost 10 percent of people over age 18 years old, but less than half receive services that could help improve their situation," said SAMHSA Acting Administrator Eric Broderick, D.D.S., M.P.H. "As we focus on advancing and protecting the nation's health we must ensure mental health services are part of the solution."

Serious Psychological Distress and Receipt of Mental Health Services also highlights significant differences in the levels of serious psychological distress suffered among various demographic groups, as well as considerable differences in the level of mental health services they received.

Among the findings:

  • The SPD rate was significantly higher among young adults aged 18 to 25 years old (17.9 percent) than among those aged 26 to 49 years old (12.2 percent) or those aged 50 years and older (7 percent).
  • Young adults aged 18 to 25 experiencing SPD were far less likely to receive mental health services (29.4 percent) than their counterparts aged 26 to 49 (47.2 percent) or aged 50 and over (53.8 percent) with SPD.
  • Less than 30 percent of blacks and Hispanics experiencing these disorders received mental health services, compared to 50.9 percent of whites with SPD.
In addition, the report provides a breakdown on the types of mental health services (e.g., inpatient, outpatient, prescription medication, and combinations) that people with SPD received.

The report is drawn from SAMHSA's 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) which collected data from a representative sample of 45,000 civilian, non-institutionalized adults throughout the United States.


I know that we live in different countries, but it is notoriously difficult to get SSI here in America, and especially where I live, in Virginia, and especially for mental health issues.

You alomst always are going to be rejected the first time, and as a matter of fact when I went to the attorney who handled my disability claim, their statement showing how effective they were was "We have a 95% success rate at getting people approved by their third hearing." This would take roughly a year and a half to complete.

I was one of the lucky ones who got approved on the first go round (surprising everyone, my lawyer included!), but I had a pretty extensive documented past of hospitalizations when I was younger, and very serious suicidal over doses when I was older so there were a lot of hospital records and things involved, and especially with the extreme problems I was having and the conditions I suffered, I guess they decided no one could make up that much stuff.

I think that anyone who feels they can not work or cant handle people or leaving their house should definitely fight for disability, but bear in mind it wont be a quick and easy process. Mine took 11 months.

Good luck.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
That's pretty much the way it is here in Canada, too. The key is to get detailed documentation from physicians or psychologists who are familiar with your status but even then they'll do their best to find a way screen out as many applicants as possible.
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