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Study: NH's Mental Illness Rate Low, Access to Care High

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Experts say people experiencing mental health challenges, especially across multiple generations, often achieve significant recovery after sharing their stories. (Pixabay/Silviarita)
Experts say people experiencing mental health challenges, especially across multiple generations, often achieve significant recovery after sharing their stories. (Pixabay/Silviarita)
 By Roz Brown - Producer, Contact
February 14, 2019

CONCORD, N.H. – More than 43 million Americans are suffering from mental illness, but less than half, or 43 percent, receive treatment, according to the new State of Mental Health in America report.

Trisha Ellis coordinates New Hampshire's In Our Own Voice workshops and encourages people to recognize that mental illness isn't "who they are," but rather "something they have."

She adds that when families struggling with mental health across multiple generations discard the fear and stigma associated with personal disclosure, recovery is accelerated.

"Some individuals might think that, when they get diagnosed with a mental illness, that it's never going to get better, and there's not any hope, but there are many out there that are in recovery and are stable," she states.

The study showed New Hampshire in the top 10 states with a low prevalence of mental illness and high rate of access to care.

Ellis cautions, however, that suicide among people younger than 24 in New Hampshire is 50 percent higher than the national average, suggesting the importance of early intervention when mental health is a concern.

Ellis says those suffering from the stigma of mental illness need to remember that conditions such as bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress or anxiety are no different than diabetes, heart disease or cancer – they all need treatment.

She adds that support groups or peer-to-peer connections often are therapeutic.

"Honestly, I think everybody's experience and their recovery is very unique, and I find that a lot of people benefit highly from peer support, and that seems to be an ongoing theme," she stresses.

A second study out this week about mental illness in children found that nearly 8 million children 17 and younger have been diagnosed with at least one mental health concern.

The study showed half of the U.S. children with a treatable disorder did not receive needed treatment from a mental health professional.

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