“The Forgotten Illness”

 “Clarion Call”

“Blow the trumpet in Zion;

    sound the alarm on my holy mountain.”(Joel 2:1)

It’s time for all people to awaken from their slumber. 

This is a time to see clearly the signs of the times.

No.19  JudeoChristianClarion.Com  “ The Forgotten Illness”

Over the last several years we have been dealing with a pandemic.

We have seen so many people ill and a great number of people dying. We have had mandates for masks and for shots, and we have even been locked down and isolated, and with great concern we have met this problem head on. People got tested, and people got treated and the government spent billions of dollars.

But for decades we have been dealing with another kind of pandemic, it is called mental illness, and yet we have barely done anything about it. According to National Alliance on Mental Illness:

21% of U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2020 (52.9 million people). This represents 1 in 5 adults.

5.6% of U.S. adults experienced serious mental illness in 2020 (14.2 million people). This represents 1 in 20 adults.

16.5% of U.S. youth aged 6-17 experienced a mental health disorder in 2016 (7.7 million people) this represents 1 in 6 US. youth.

50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34. 

6.7% of U.S. adults experienced a co-occurring substance use disorder and mental illness in 2020 (17 million people). 

 And yet, not the whole population is receiving treatment. 

  • 46.2% of U.S. adults with mental illness received treatment in 2020. 
  • 64.5% of U.S. adults with serious mental illness received treatment in 2020.  
  • 50.6% of U.S. youth aged 6-17 with a mental health disorder received treatment in 2016.   

Millions of people are affected every year by mental illness. Mental illness does not only affect the person who is ill, but it affects all of us.

  • People with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population. People with serious mental illness are nearly twice as likely to develop these conditions.
  • 32.1% of U.S. adults with mental illness also experienced a substance use disorder in 2020 (17 million individuals).
  • The rate of unemployment is higher among U.S. adults who have mental illness (6.4%) compared to those who do not (5.1%).
  • High school students with significant symptoms of depression are more than twice as likely to drop out compared to their peers.
  • Students aged 6-17 with mental, emotional or behavioral concerns are 3x more likely to repeat a grade.
  • At least 8.4 million people in the U.S. provide care to an adult with a mental or emotional health issue.
  • Caregivers of adults with mental or emotional health issues spend an average of 32 hours per week providing unpaid care.
  • Mental illness and substance use disorders are involved in 1 out of every 8 emergency department visits by a U.S. adult (estimated 12 million visits).
  • Mood disorders are the most common cause of hospitalization for all people in the U.S. under age 45 (after excluding hospitalization relating to pregnancy and birth).
  • Across the U.S. economy, serious mental illness causes $193.2 billion in lost earnings each year.
  • 20.8% of people experiencing homelessness in the U.S. have a serious mental health condition.
  • 37% of adults incarcerated in the state and federal prison system have a diagnosed mental illness.
  • 70% of youth in the juvenile justice system have a diagnosable mental health condition.
  • 8.4% of Active Component service members in the U.S. military experienced a mental health or substance use condition in 2019.
  • 15.3% of U.S. Veterans experienced a mental illness in 2019 (31.3 million people). 
  • Depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion in lost productivity each year. 

Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide.

Shouldn’t this be considered a global pandemic?  It certainly is a pandemic here in the United States and yet, we do not tackle this problem like we have tackled the Coronavirus. So many of these people go undiagnosed and so many of them go untreated. This is a serious social issue, because it affects people in all walks of life and the untreated and undiagnosed people usually are left to their own self – doctoring and this only leads to other issues, like crime, alcohol, drugs and suicide.  Our prisons are overrun with mental illness and this could have and should have been prevented. Either we need to treat these people while they are in prison, or we need more asylums where they can get treatment. Either way , we need to conquer mental health in a compassionate way. We as a society can do better and we must do better for their sake. Let’s gather our church members, or our non-profits, and especially our congress, and let’s put the same amount of energy and money into helping one of our most vulnerable groups of people, the mentally ill. Let us also work at removing the stigma of mental illness. So many of our children are bullied and laughed at because they have issues that they deal with, maybe with someone at home or themselves who has mental illness. We must make a better effort, an effort that will bring about change, and that may just mean that we need to pray harder for this pandemic called “mental illness.”

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