United States Is Behind in Treating Mentally Ill

Published Online: Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Despite the fact that the United States has a greater percentage of mentally ill individuals than other countries, it ranked third in a study of treatment for mental health problems. The study, which compared 5 nations in the Americas and Europe, found that the United States had the highest rate of people who reported some form of emotional trouble, nearly 30%. Only a third of the people in the United States with serious mental illness, however, received treatment.That was the worst rate among the countries examined, according to findings published in the May/June issue of Health Affairs.

The results were based on surveys between 1990 and 1999 of more than 23,000 people in the United States, Ger-many, Ontario (Canada), Holland, and Chile. The United States had the highest prevalence of emotional problems (29%), anxiety (17%), and drug and alcohol abuse (11.5%). The rate of treating mental illness in the United States was 37%, compared with Germany?s top rate of 67%.

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