Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:27PM
A new study has revealed that more Americans are suffering from serious psychological distress than in the past decades. (File Photo)
A new study has revealed that more Americans are suffering from serious psychological distress than in the past decades. (File Photo)

A new study has revealed that more Americans are suffering from serious psychological distress than in the past decades.

The research, which was published in the journal Psychiatric Services on Monday, reported that scientists from New York University's Langone Medical Center had analyzed adults aged 18 to 64 between 2006 to 2014.

It further indicated that the patients were examined based on eleven factors, including insufficient money for mental healthcare and having seen a mental health provider.

Following the analysis, the researchers concluded that 3.4 percent (more than 8.3 million) of adult Americans suffer from serious psychological distress (SPD), defining it as feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and restlessness. The feelings were reported to be hazardous enough to impair a person's physical well-being.

The number represents an increase from previous survey estimates which calculated the number of Americans suffering from SPD at 3 percent or less.

The research also found that, in spite of the obvious rise in those suffering from SPD, however, healthcare access to address the condition was found to have decreased over the course of the analyzed surveys.

A comparison of SPD symptoms from 2006 to 2014 revealed that nearly one in ten distressed Americans (9.5 percent) did not have health insurance that would give them access to a psychiatrist or counselor in 2014.

Judith Weissman, a research manager in the Department of Medicine at NYU Langone, said the findings may “help explain why the US suicide rate is up to 43,000 people each year.”

Weissman noted that the reason behind the diminishing of such services could be from “shortages in professional help, increased costs of care not covered by insurance, the great recession, and other reasons worthy of further investigation.”

Meanwhile, Cheryl Pegus, a senior investigator in the study, has encouraged physicians to play a more significant role in screening people and detecting signs of SPD and potential suicide.

“Our study supports health policies designed to incorporate mental health services and screenings into every physician's practice through the use of electronic medical records, and by providing training for all health care professionals, as well as the right resources for patients,” she said.