The increase of mental illness in America has risen to epidemic proportions. In the short span of 20 years, children under eighteen years of age who received a Social Security Income/Social Security Disability Income (SSI/SSDI) payment because they were disabled by a serious mental illness went from 16,200 to 561,569. That is an increase of thirty-five fold between 1987 and 2007.
In his book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic” Robert Whitaker says it best:
The disability numbers only hint at the extraordinary toll that mental illness is exacting on our society. The GAO, in its June 2008 report, concluded that one in every sixteen young adults in the United States is now “seriously mentally ill.” There has never been a society that has seen such a plague of mental illness in its newly minted adults, and those who go on the SSI and SSDI rolls at this young age are likely to spend the rest of their lives receiving disability payments. The 20-year-old who goes on SSI or SSDI will receive more than $1 million in benefits over the next forty or so years, and that is a cost—should this epidemic continue to grow—that our society will not be able to afford.
Mental illness is not a problem that is going away. It has been on the rise for the past half a century. In our next blog post, we will discuss our methods of treatment as they do not involve prescribed medications. In addition, we’ll assert our belief that some of those very medications have only exacerbated this modern day plague, rather than aided in the recovery of the affected individuals.