According to the most recent study of mental illness in NYC, depression and anxiety are among the most widespread mental illnesses, affecting an estimated 54 million adults in the United States each year. In New York City, a 2004 Department of Health and Mental Hygiene-conducted survey, the Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, found that 430,000 (7.5%) of NYC residents suffered from a major depressive disorder and 200,000 (3.5%) from a generalized anxiety disorder in the previous 12 months.
In the 2005 NYC Community Health Survey also conducted by DOHMH, 6.3%, or 378,000 City residents, reported nonspecific psychological distress. Psychotic disorders, eating disorders, developmental disorders, substance-use disorders and personality disorders also affect many New Yorkers.
Mental illness is also a problem among teenagers; in the 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, conducted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), 9.6% of respondents said they had attempted suicide in the previous 12 months. Depression is one of the leading underlying causes of suicide attempts and among those youth who reported a suicide attempt in the past year, more than 67% also had reported symptoms of depression.
You can access these and other statistics about the health of City residents on the Web at https://a816-health3ssl.nyc.gov/.
DOHMH wants New Yorkers to know that treatment works and that recovery is possible. Early screening and detection, medication, therapy and peer support can make a big difference. Recovery refers to a process through which individuals are able to live, work, learn and participate fully in their communities. Recovery is based upon empowerment, respect, responsibility and peer support, and it makes use of individualized, culturally competent, holistic and person-centered, strength-based strategies to promote progress toward a healthier life.
DOHMH partners with consumers, families, advocates and providers to ensure access to high-quality services and to improve the lives of New Yorkers. In this way, we help support recovery, eradicate stigma, increase awareness and promote accessibility and equity in treatment and other opportunities for people with psychiatric disabilities.
There are also support organizations for consumers who are learning how to cope with mental illness and their families. More information is available at http://www.naminycmetro.org/, the Web site of the New York affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
For mental health or treatment referrals call LIFENET: 1-800-LIFENET (1-800-543-3638; 1-877-AYUDESE en Español; 1-800-543-3638 for Asian-speaking populations) is a toll-free, confidential help line that provides callers with information and referrals for those seeking services to mental health and substance abuse resources throughout the New York City area. LIFENET operates 24 hours per day/seven days per week.
For more information contact me, Dr. Terri L. Jenkins via email at [email protected]