The Price of Mental Health: both physical and mental

Mental Health is an ongoing issue world wide and even within the Utah community. According to Utah Department of Health, the average total charges per year for ER visits and hospitalizations for suicide attempts was $4.2 million for Utah youth. This number is astonishing due to the fact that more and more people are suffering from a mental illness each year, and many people do not have the money to afford to get the help they need to stay happy, or better yet even alive. An average of 557 Utahns die from suicide and 4,543 Utahns attempt* suicide each year. Youth ages 10 to 17 comprise 13.0% of the Utah population, 5.1% of all suicides,1 and 22.7% of all suicide attempts. And according to suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in ages 15-44. Nine times as many people die by suicide in Utah annually than by homicide; the total deaths to suicide reflect a total of 13,185 years of potential life lost (YPLL) before age 65. I think it’s crazy that someone dies due to suicide every 40 seconds, and so many people’s lives can be impacted.

It is shocking to live in a state that has one of the highest rates of suicide in the country, and I wanted to know more about the United States as a whole with mental health. According to NAMI, the National Alliance of Mental Illness, approximately 1 in 5 adults, about 43.8 million experience some form of mental illness in a given year, and 1 in 25 adults about 9.8 million experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. With kids only 1 in 5 (from ages 13-18) experience a severe mental disorder sometime throughout their childhood. Which means just in America alone serious mental illnesses cost $193.2 billions dollars per year, to help people with their conditions, and or simply stop people from committing suicide by putting them in hospitalization. I also found that for an average person to seek medical help through therapy costs $75-150 per session, which is not an affordable cost, when you come down to think about it. And to add on top, the medications that most people use and the hospitalization visit all add up to an unthinkable amount, which is terrible.

I took a look at the international aspect of this issue, and found an article from the University of Nottingham in Malaysia, and they stated that due to China’s fast economic growth and lifestyle changes, they are experiencing a rapid epidemiological transition from communicable to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Mental disorders such as depression is an important yet often neglected NCD and is becoming a growing cause of disability, suicides, and disease burden.” From the basis of the 2012 China family panel studies survey they found “that these mental health conditions have significant impacts on the individual medical expenditure, and they jointly contribute to 14.7% of total personal expected medical spending in China, with depression and depressive symptoms accounting for 6.9% and 7.8%, respectively. Given that patients with mental illness face multiple psychological and institutional barriers in seeking appropriate treatment, the high depression-induced medical costs may be primarily driven by the cost-shifting effect from mental health care to general health care, as mental disorders often coexist with other NCDs such as diabetes and hypertension.” This surprises me because I know a lot of countries tend to ignore mental health issues, and or think that these such things don’t exist, and I find it hard to believe that countries are not putting in more effort to fight this battle, and provide people with the help that they need.

With all of that being said I think that our world as a whole needs to focus more on mental health as a whole, and the cost of mental health as a number, but also the cost of a persons life, and the impact it makes on so many people in the world around us.

The Price of Mental Health: both physical and mental
by Caleigh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This article was prepared by a young writer through Youth Voices, an exciting initiative helping students find their own voice in the digital world.