Spotlight is on mental health after Robin Williams’ death


By Katie Bo Williams, HealthcareDive

In the wake of the apparent suicide of beloved comedian Robin Williams on Tuesday, the national spotlight is on how providers are managing a widespread disease that is present in the populations of hospitals, ACOs and clinics across the United States. Advocacy groups and legislators are already pushing for more scrutiny in how the U.S. care system delivers mental health services.

Mood disorders like depression are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for individuals ages 18 to 44, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Moreover, treatment of the disease has an impact on overall patient health: Individuals living with a serious mental illness have an increased risk of chronic medical conditions and die on average 25 years younger than other Americans.

How widespread is mental illness and what are the costs?

The Percentage of adults with mental illness who received no mental health services in the previous year: 60%

The impact on healthcare

  • The age by which half of all chronic mental illnesses begin: 14
  • Annual earnings lost as a result of mental illness: $193.2B
  • American’s who live with mental illness in a given year: 61.5M

By the numbers

  • 1 in 17 Americans live with a serious mental illness
  • 1 in 4 Americans who live with mental illness in a given year
  • 6.7% of American adults with major depression