According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 44 million American adults experience mental illness in a given year. 44 million. 1 in 5 adults. We’re talking about anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, dementia and schizophrenia, to name a few. 44 million people. If you haven’t already paused to think about this, pause now.
What’s more, 60% of adults who suffer from mental illness didn’t receive any treatment in the last year. This means 26.4 million American adults who need help didn’t get it. They didn’t go to a counselor, therapist, doctor, clinic -- didn’t receive services. (And we’re not even talking about children and youth who suffer, though 50% of chronic mental illnesses begins by age 14.)
So, the big question here is: Why haven’t these 26.4 million adults gotten help? While I could spend the better part of my year digging through research and statistics in attempt to answer this question, for now, I want to talk about these four words: “Talk with your doctor.”
Sound familiar? They are at the bottom of every handout you’ve ever received on healthcare. It’s the catchphrase that essentially absolves the author of any accountability. You can almost hear someone saying, “Well, I could be wrong. Good luck,” and then visualize them shrugging their shoulders and walking away.
In the mental health world, these four words may change slightly, to “talk with your counselor,” or “mental health provider,” but the root problem here remains similar: How can I talk to my counselor if I don’t have one? As a social worker, this problem has bothered me for a long, long time. As a country, we are constantly asking people -- via public service announcements, websites, public health brochures -- to identify and speak with someone they don’t know who is supposed to solve all their problems.
It’s looking at this image over and over, and wondering, How do I find this magical person?
Enter: Healthify. Healthify helps patients find and connect with mental health providers who can start addressing their needs. After all, 26.4 million people does start with 1 person and – maybe – 1 app.