National study shows mental health recovery can thrive with access to services

A new study from SAMHSA says access to mental health care leads to success rates.
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 10:44 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - One in 20 adults in the U.S. experiences serious mental illness each year, and that includes 62,000 Nebraskans according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

But a national study released Wednesday shows some of what’s being done across the country in the fight against mental illness is helping.

“We know this journey of recovery takes a lot of courage,” SAMHSA director of the office of recovery Paolo del Vecchio said. “But if people are able to have access to care, they have support around them like family... as well as access to treatment, and spirituality... all those factors help to contribute to people overcoming these issues and recovering.”

The U.S. government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released a comprehensive report, Recovery from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Problems in Adults. What it shows is success, when communities are given the tools needed.

“What this data shows is over 70% of Americans who have a substance use or mental health problem go on and recover. and that’s over 50 million Americans,” del Vecchio said. “So what this says really is people are able, with treatments and support, able to overcome these issues and live full and happy lives in their communities.”

At a time when the mental health stigma seems to be lessening, the report shows a more encouraging path to recovery.

“One of the things, myths, the stigma associated with these conditions is that these are conditions that you’re not able, in fact, to get well from,” del Vecchio said. “And what this data shows is the exact opposite, that significant majority of individuals are able to find that hope in healing and be able to live a recovery lives.”

He credits young adults with helping to break down some of the barriers to mental health recovery.

“What we’re seeing across many schools, in fact, across the nation are young people speaking up themselves and trying to promote understanding and awareness, about resources, like the 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are three digits.”

NAMI says more than one million Nebraskans live in communities that do not have enough mental health professionals, but del Vecchio says the SAMHSA report underscores there are many successful pathways to mental health recovery.

“What this data again really reveals, (is) that first of all, resetting the mindset that people can recover,” del Vecchio said. “We can build the kind of social supports, the family supports, faith communities... and make sure people have access to quality and affordable health and behavioral health.”