KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Report: 5% Of Americans Have A Serious Mental Illness

According to figures from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Sevices Administration, an estimated 11 million people have some type of mental illness.

National Journal: Mental Health Report Shows 11 Million With Serious Illness
Just under five percent of U.S. adults, or 11 million people, had a serious mental illness in 2009, US mental health officials report in the latest update. And 34,000 Americans committed suicide linked to mental illness. More than one quarter of adults with mental illness also had a substance abuse problem, according to the figures from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The latest data shows 13 percent of U.S. children aged 8 to 15  had a mental health disorder (Fox, 4/25).

Also, mental health care from Veterans Affairs draws more headlines -

The Associated Press: Ex-VA Hospital Official Faults Mental Health Care
Veterans are waiting too long for mental health care and are unaware that hospitals sometimes manipulate records in an attempt to make it appear that standards are being met, a former Veterans Affairs hospital official told senators Wednesday. Hospitals are "gaming the system," with administrators so focused on achieving performance targets, in part to get bonuses, that they don't always do what's best for the patient, said Nicholas Tolentino, former mental health administrative officer at the VA medical center in Manchester, N.H. (Freking, 4/26).

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