Mental health has been getting increased coverage recently, from discussions about the role of mental health in mass shootings to how mental health intersects with the opioid epidemic. In the US, approximately 43.8 million people experience a mental illness every year.1
As a nation, we are grappling with how to address mental health. There is evidence that youth mental health is worsening. In 2012, 5.9% of youth had severe depression; by 2015, that number had risen to 8.2%.2 Mental health isn’t just affecting youth; one in five Americans, or 40 million people, have a mental health condition.3 Of those 40 million people, 56% do not receive treatment,4 and nearly half of adults with a mental illness have a co-occurring substance abuse disorder.5
Not treating mental health challenges has real consequences. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, claiming the lives of 45,000 people last year. The cost to suicide extends beyond the loss of life. The economic loss due to suicide is estimated to be $50.8 billion per year from medical and work loss cost.6 Additionally, Major Depressive Disorder has an economic cost of $210.5 billion per year. Half of that cost is attributed to absenteeism from work and reduced productivity while at work.7 The economic cost of Bipolar Disorder is estimated to be $202.1 billion per year; unemployment attributes to 20% of the cost.8 Through treatments like therapy or prescriptions, these illnesses are manageable.9
More chambers are leading or partnering to combat the growing rate of mental illness. Whether that is learning about adverse childhood experiences and their effect on adulthood or understanding addiction, chambers are stepping up to fulfill the need.