Surgeon General Reports on the Role of Mental Health in the Lives of Individuals, Communities and the Nation
Read our discussion of the Surgeon General's report on mental health below. To learn more about how race and ethnicity affect mental health, read our discussion of the Surgeon General's supplemental report "Mental Health: Culture, Race and Ethnicity".
Mental health is the foundation of personal well-being and the ability to reach one's goals. "Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General" focuses attention on the role of mental health in the lives of individuals, communities and the nation. Addressing mental health and mental illness across the lifespan, the Surgeon General reports that there is a range of mental health treatments available to effectively treat mental illness.
Barriers to Seeking Treatment
Although one in five Americans experience mental illness, only about half of these individuals seek treatment. Several issues are barriers to seeking treatment:
- The stigma surrounding mental illness
- Not recognizing that distress or impaired functioning may be signs of mental illness
- Not knowing that effective treatments are available
The Surgeon General's main recommendation is "to seek help if you have a mental health problem or think you have symptoms of a mental disorder".
The Surgeon General's report also addresses the difficulties that may be encountered once an individual chooses to seek treatment. Several barriers to obtaining effective treatment are identified, including the problems of the organizing and financing of services and gaps between what is known about effective treatments and the treatments that are available.
Underserved Groups Identified
The Surgeon General finds that specific groups of our population are especially underserved. Specifically, he reports that groups are underserved because of
- Racial status
- Ethnic minority status
The Surgeon General challenges us all to become more knowledgeable about the role of mental health as the very basis of overall health and functioning and about mental illness and the ways it disrupts healthy functioning. The Surgeon General also challenges us to become advocates for providing effective treatment and support services to all who are in need.
More Information on This Web Site
Throughout this website, you will find extensive information about mental health and mental illness, including our:
This information will be updated periodically.