Treatment is a Priority as Americans’ Mental Health Declines
These days, everything seems politicized and polarizing. Yet, we likely agree on one point: 2020 was a rough year and one that many of us are glad to see in the rear-view mirror.
The events and circumstances of this year have had a significant impact on our mental health. In a November 2020 Gallup survey, Americans rated their mental health as worse than they had rated it since Gallup started the survey in 2001. Survey participants were asked to rate their own mental or emotional wellbeing as excellent, good, only fair, or poor. Consider these statistics from the survey:
- Fewer U.S. adults rated their mental health as “excellent.” Only 34% said their mental health was excellent – which was eight points lower than reported in any of the 19 previous Gallup surveys.
- The percent of Americans who rated their mental health as “good” (42%) remained within the range of past years.
- The percent of Americans that rated their mental health as either “only fair” or “poor” rose by several percentage points compared to past years’ surveys, with 18% rating their health as “only fair” and 5% rating their health as “poor” in the most recent survey.
“Nine long, deadly months into the pandemic, Americans report severe psychic distress. It’s dark, we’re stuck inside, and we’re isolated from friends and family,” writes Farhad Manjoo in a Dec. 9, 2020 opinion column in The New York Times. “Politics is fevered, the economy continues to struggle, and the coronavirus rages on. Many of us may be at a breaking point.”
At a time when life is already hard, dealing with depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions can be unbearable. That’s why treatment is so critical. In a blog post for the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), their CEO, Mary Gilberti, J.D., writes that research shows the importance of both timing and treatment type when it comes to recovering from mental illnesses.
“Just like physical health conditions, the earlier you get mental health treatment, the better,” writes Gilberti. “NAMI understands that it is really hard to take that first step in recognizing an illness and addressing it, but we also know that time is of the essence.”
Gilberti also writes about how we need to make informed choices about the type of treatment used to manage our mental health.
“There are several types of therapies, medications and other treatments for mental illness. And for each mental health condition, there are certain treatments that have been well-researched,” writes Gilberti. “Mental health conditions are legitimate medical conditions that need early intervention and evidence-based care. Just like cancer, just like diabetes. If you or a loved one is experiencing mental illness, the best thing you can do is get treatment now. Not tomorrow, not next week, but now.”
For more information about how personalized depression treatment has helped others, read patient stories here: https://genesight.com/patient-stories/#patient-stories.
This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Do not make any changes to your current medications or dosing without consulting your healthcare provider.
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