Massage therapy lessens stress and depression, and increases relaxation and feelings of well-being. Americans are stressed, and that is manifesting in some instances as mental health challenges.

Depression, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts are all prevalent in the U.S., according to a new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services.

According to results from the national survey:

• 19.9 percent of American adults in the United States (45.1 million) have experienced mental illness over the past year.

• Mental illness is more likely among adults who were unemployed than among adults who were employed full time (27.7 percent versus 17.1 percent).

• 11 million adults (4.8 percent) in the U.S. suffered serious mental illness—a diagnosable mental disorder has substantially interfered with or limited one or more major life activities—in the past year.

• 8.4 million adults in the U.S. had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year, while 2.2 million made suicide plans and one million attempted suicide.

• Nearly 20 percent (8.9 million) of adults in the U.S. with mental illness in the past year also had a substance use disorder. Among those with serious mental illness in the past year, 25.7 percent had a substance use disorder in the past year, approximately four times the level (6.5 percent) experienced by people not suffering from serious mental illness.

• Less than four in ten (37.9 percent) of adults in the U.S. with mental illness in the past year received mental health services.

“Too many Americans are not getting the help they need and opportunities to prevent and intervene early are being missed,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “The consequences for individuals, families and communities can be devastating.

“If left untreated, mental illnesses can result in disability, substance abuse, suicides, lost productivity, and family discord,” she added.

Results from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Findings is based on the 2009 NSDUH, the latest in a series of scientifically conducted annual surveys of approximately 67,500 people throughout the country. Because of its statistical power, it is a primary source of information on the levels of a wide range of behavioral health matters, including mental health and substance abuse issues.

A copy of the report is accessible at:

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