Lack of mental health insurance risking people

Washington D.C. [USA], April 17 : You may want to get yourself properly insured as a recent study has found that due to insufficient mental health coverage and access to a psychiatrist or counselor, more people than ever before are suffering from serious psychological distress (SPD).

The study may also help explain why the U.S. suicide rate is up to 43,000 people each year. The results suggested that nearly one in 10 distressed Americans (9.5 percent) in 2014 did not have health insurance that would give them access to a psychiatrist or counselor.

About 10.5 percent in 2014 experienced delays in getting professional help due to insufficient mental health coverage and 9.9 percent could not afford to pay for their psychiatric medications in 2014.

According to researchers from New York University's langone medical center, more than 8.3 million of the Americans aged 18 and 64 suffer from SPD -feelings of sadness, worthlessness and restlessness are hazardous enough to impair people's physical well-being.

"Although our analysis do not give concrete reasons why mental health services are diminishing, it could be from shortages in professional help, increased cost of care not covered by insurance, the great recession and other reasons worthy of further investigation," said lead study investigator Judith Weissman from NYU Langone.

"Based on our data, we estimate that millions of Americans have a level of emotional functioning that leads to lower quality of life and life expectancy," Weissman added.

"Physicians, especially in primary care, can play a bigger role in screening people and detecting signs of SPD and potential suicide," said senior study investigator Cheryl Pegus.

"Our study supports health policies designed to incorporate mental health services and screenings into every physician's practice through the use of electronic medical records, and by providing training for all health care professionals, as well as the right resources for patients," Pegus added.

The study is published in the journal Psychiatric Services..

Source: ANI