WASHINGTON (TND) — A new poll from Gallup found that 17.8% of Americans have depression or are currently being treated for it. That’s up about seven points since 2015, when Gallup first started collecting data.
Meanwhile, 29% of Americans say they’ve been diagnosed with depression at some point in their life — up 10 points.
Both are the highest recorded rates.
This backs up data from the CDC that shows more than one in five adults live with mental illness.
Rates among women, young adults and black and hispanic adults are rising the fastest. The survey explained that these groups were more likely to lose or leave their jobs during the pandemic. Young adults, on the other hand, are more likely to be single and report loneliness, especially during the pandemic, and require more social time than older adults do.
Factors like social isolation, loneliness, psychological exhaustion, disruptions in mental health services and increased substance use or abuse during the pandemic all likely played a role in the increase.
The global rates are pretty alarming as well. Nearly 40% of people over the age of 15 either have significant depression or anxiety, or have a close friend or family member that does.
According to Mental Health America, 54.7% of adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment, totaling over 28 million Americans.
Meanwhile, the nation continues to struggle to provide the resources and workforce to those dealing with depression and mental illness. This is highlighted by the fact that nearly one in five children experience a mental health issue, but only about 20% receive care, per the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
According to data from the Health Resources and Services Administration, the U.S. is short 8,244 mental health practitioners and the Kaiser Family Foundation found 47% of the U.S. population in 2022 was living in a mental health workforce shortage.
This goes beyond mental health, the U.S. has a broader healthcare issue. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) projects the U.S. will face a shortage of up to 124,000 physicians in 2034. This prediction is largely based on expected population growth. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the population to climb to 363 million by 2034, it is currently 334 million. Roughly two thirds of that growth is estimated to be people 65 years of age or older who will require more medical care as they age.
There are multiple proposals on Capitol Hill that address the healthcare workforce shortage, but looking at the executive branch, the U.S. Department of Human Services (HHS) announced roughly $25 million would be used to expand primary healthcare, which includes mental health services in schools. In order to get school-based funding, applicants are required to add or expand mental health services.
If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health issues, there are several resources available to find out more information or get help. Check out the list below:
If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK, or dial 911.