Mental illness is common in the United States, affecting approximately one in four adults in a given year, or approximately 57 million people. Mental illnesses include depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, eating disorders, autism, dementia and many more. Severe mental illness is less common, affecting about 3 percent of the U.S. population. With effective treatment, approximately 70 to 90 percent of people with symptoms of mental illness experience improved quality of life.
Treatments vary by the type of mental illness. Typical treatments include psychiatric therapy and medication. Often, families are integrated into the overall treatment plan for a patient, because underlying issues can include child abuse, domestic violence or substance abuse.
People suffering from a severe mental illness often end up out of work, uninsured and even homeless. Families of those with a severe mental illness face many obstacles--financial, medical and emotional--in caring for their loved ones. Consequently, treatment of severe mental illness often involves some type of public program or funding.
State governments play an important role in the availability and quality of mental health care. With many states in fiscal crises, funding for mental health care has suffered.
In its report Grading the States 2009, the National Alliance on Mental Illness awarded a grade of B--the highest grade awarded--to only six states. Those states are Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Oklahoma.
In a U.S. News & World Report survey, specialists in psychiatry ranked U.S. hospitals on their ability to handle challenging cases and procedures. The top five best psychiatry hospitals in the survey are: 1. Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston 2. Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore 3. McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. 4. New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell in New York 5. UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Hospital in Los Angeles
Located in states that rank highly in availability and quality of health care, and home to three of the top psychiatry hospitals in the nation, the best cities for health care are Boston, Baltimore and New York. Other cities that are each home to one of the top 10 psychiatry hospitals are Rochester, Minn.; Pittsburgh; Houston; Atlanta; New Haven, Conn.; and Durham, N.C.