Mental health is a global problem as it is a problem of the Americans living in Reading, Pennsylvania. It affects 20% of young people and adolescents in the world today most of which have their onset before age 14 (WHO, 2017). Mental illness and substance abuse, which is also a mental health issue, account for 23% of years lost to disability (WHO, 2017). Mental health problems, especially depression, account for more than 800,000 cases of suicide each year. Out of each successful adult suicide, 20 more have attempted to take their lives but have failed (WHO, 2017). It casts a lot of burden of disease and disability in the world today.
Mental Health in America
Statistics of the USA are not so far from the global statistics, about 18.53% of adults in America suffer from mental health conditions (Mental Health America, 2016). Itis reported having risen by 4% between 2015 and 2016 (Mental Health America, 2016). It is worth noting that all states experienced a statistically significant increase in cases of mental illness (Mental Health America, 2016).
Pennsylvania does not rank so poorly in mental health status in the USA, but it is still a significant issue depending on location. About 14.6% of the people living in Pennsylvania suffer from the mental condition. However, this data is much larger in Reading where the percentage is 21.3% (Reading Health System, 2013).
Factors that Affect Mental Wellbeing
The state of mental wellbeing achieved by a person is determined by both personal and environmental factors. These factors interact and become protective or destructive to ones mental well-being. Socioeconomic status as an environmental factor also plays a role in determining the mental wellbeing of a person. It is noted that hard socioeconomic conditions adversely affect the mental states of the concerned people (Patel, Araya, Lewis, & Swartz, 2001). It is one important consideration in the epidemiology of mental illness in Reading since 38.8% of the people live in poverty which makes them vulnerable.
Why Investing in Mental Health is Important
Mental illness is a risk factor for intentional and unintentional injuries; it is also associated with increased risk of disease or faster progression of the illness. Some of the conditions that are affected by a persons mental health status include diabetes, lower back pain, cardiovascular diseases and HIV (WHO, 2017). As pointed out earlier, it is a leading cause of disability and also accounts for a significant loss of income. As much as poverty and economic stress are likely to increase the risk for mental illness, mental illness also accounts for a considerable loss of revenue thus GDP. The amount of money lost to individuals, families, and the state makes mental illness an important health priority. WHO (2017) pointed out that return on investment for putting dollars into mental health projects is high. Mental health is also essential for the healthy functioning of communities and the wider society.
Community-based Mental Health Care
The problem of mental health is most tackled through a community-based approach. This method is implemented at the community level to avoid challenges that may arise if a person accesses care in a clinical setting (WHO, 2001). This mental health care program makes care accessible and able to tackle the multiple needs of the affected person (WHO, 2001). That way, other community needs that are unique to the affected person.
Mental Health America. (2016). State of mental health in America 2016. Mental Health America. Retrieved from http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/sites/default/files/2016%20MH%20in%20America%20FINAL.pdf
Patel, V., Araya, R., Lewis, G., & Swartz, L. (2001). Socioeconomic factors and mental health. In WHO, Mental Health: A Call for Action (pp. 39-57). Geneva: WHO.
Reading Health System. (2013). Reading health system. Reading: Reading Health System. Retrieved from https://www.readinghealth.org/~/media/Files/About/Community%20Health%20and%20Wellness%20Community%20Health%20Implementation%20Plan.pdf
WHO. (2001). The world health report. Retrieved from WHO: http://www.who.int/whr/2001/chapter3/en/index1.html
WHO. (2017). 10 facts on mental health. Retrieved from World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/mental_health/mental_health_facts/en/
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