45.9M in U.S. had mental illness in 2011

May 11, 2012 at 8:20 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 11 (UPI) -- Almost 46 million Americans suffered some form of a mental illness in 2011, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said Friday.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported many mentally ill people do not receive needed services and treatment, Sebelius said.

The administration estimates one-fifth to one-third of uninsured Americans are afflicted with mental and substance use disorders, Sebelius said. Due to outdated misperceptions, myths and prejudice, people with mental illnesses experience disparities in income, employment, education, homelessness, full community participation and life expectancy, she said.

Successful efforts that have raised awareness about the importance of mental health and promoted acceptance, support, prevention and recovery from these mental health conditions include:

-- The Affordable Care Act expanding health insurance coverage to approximately 30 million Americans by 2016, and an estimated 11 million of these newly eligible beneficiaries will have substance abuse and/or mental health service needs.

-- The Community Mental Health Services Block Grant provides financial assistance to states and territories to carry out state plans to offer comprehensive community-based mental health services and evidence-based practices to adults with serious mental illnesses and children with serious emotional disturbances.

-- Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 eliminates the practice of unequal health treatment and improves access to much needed mental health and substance use disorder treatment services through more equitable insurance coverage.

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