According to National Institute of Mental Health, there were approximately 43.6 million adults in the United States with a mental illness in 2014. This is about 18.1% of US adults. (10)
The burden associated with mental and behavioral disorders is significant—both economically and personally. It is estimated that serious mental illness costs the U.S. $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year. (11) Additionally, there is a link between suicide and mental disorders. Over 800,000 people die every year from suicide, and for each suicide committed there are many more people making attempts, as well as survivors of the suicide victim. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death, and the second leading cause of death in 15-29 year olds. (12) In 2009, suicide was the seventh leading cause of death in the Panhandle (1.5%). (13)
Some risk factors for suicide and mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders include alcohol or substance use, isolation, history of child maltreatment, poor parenting, mental health conditions, particularly depression, and stressful and negative events. (14,15) The Adverse Childhood Experiences study is a collaborative study between the CDC and Kaiser Permanente that investigates the association between childhood negative experiences and health in adulthood. (16) Findings of the study suggest that adverse childhood experiences such as physical, emotional and sexual abuse, witnessing violence, traumatic events, and family dysfunction have a negative effect on the health and well-being of the individual later in life. (16)
Understanding the importance of early intervention, the focus of the efforts in the Panhandle revolves around prevention through early identification and treatment and prevention and mitigation of Adverse Childhood Experiences.