The number of people seeking mental health care at the Mayo Clinic has tripled in the past five years, but there are still too many barriers preventing people from seeking treatment, according to a new study.
The Mayo Clinic’s annual National Health Interview Survey found that 8.1 percent of people were found to have a diagnosis of major depressive disorder in 2015, up from 6.6 percent in 2014.
But when the researchers took into account those with no mental health diagnosis at all, the prevalence was 8.2 percent, with 3.6 million people in that group.
The prevalence of major depression remained unchanged from 2014, when the survey was conducted.
“It’s a real concern,” said Amy Johnson, an associate professor of psychology at Ohio State University who was not involved in the new study, which was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The report found that people with a mental illness diagnosis had been twice as likely to be hospitalized as those without a mental health condition.
And those who were hospitalized were more likely to require additional care, and their hospitalizations were three times more likely for those who had a mental disorder diagnosis.
While people with mental health disorders are far more likely than others to die from a preventable cause, they also are more likely (6.9 percent versus 2.1%) to experience physical and mental health issues that could lead to death.
They are more than twice as common in those who have a major depressive episode compared with those without mental illness, with 5.5 percent of those with a major depression diagnosis having serious mental health problems.
More people are hospitalized than diagnosed with major depression.
The percentage of people hospitalized with a depressive episode increased from 10.2 to 15.3 percent in the survey, but this rose to 17.5 to 26.5 for those with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
And the percentage of patients hospitalized for other mental disorders rose from 3.5% to 4.5%, from 4.7% to 6.3% for those experiencing an episode of anxiety disorder, and from 4% to 5.3%, from 5.7 to 7.3 for those suffering from PTSD.
But the prevalence of people with no major depressive diagnosis is higher than the prevalence for people with any mental illness.
People with no diagnoses at all were more than three times as likely as people with major depressive diagnoses to be in the hospital and receive emergency care.
And they were four times more often hospitalized for non-medical reasons.
The new study found that nearly 40 percent of the people who were in the emergency room and emergency department for an episode or two of a mental or physical health problem had a psychiatric diagnosis, compared with only 17.9% of those without major depressive symptoms.
In the hospital, those with mental disorders were more frequently hospitalized for acute illness than non-mental illnesses, such as heart disease, pneumonia and influenza.
For people with bipolar disorder, there was an even greater disparity: 19.6% of people in the same situation were hospitalized with major symptoms and 19.9 of those in the ER with severe mental illness were hospitalized for mental health.
In the survey data, people who reported being treated for a mental problem had higher rates of hospitalizations for any mental health problem than those who reported not having a mental diagnosis.
The prevalence of mental health conditions rose for people ages 18 to 64, as did the number of mental illnesses, but people who had none were more often in the ICU than people with depression, anxiety or PTSD.
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