About Mental Health

Why Is Mental Health Important?

For far too many people, mental health often takes a back burner. Over half (54.7%) of U.S. adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment. That’s more than 28 million individuals. And that lack of treatment for our mental health has real costs. The National Alliance on Mental Health estimates that untreated mental illness costs the country up to $300 billion every year due to losses in productivity.

But there are many common misconceptions about mental health and the role that it plays in our lives that prevent people from seeking treatment and finding relief. Here are some common misconceptions about mental health — and the reality about why mental health is so important.


Untreated Mental Health Issues Impact Our Lives

A crisis-receiving facility provides crisis stabilization services to people in need of urgent care for mental health issues or a substance use disorder or both. Similar to an emergency room, a facility-based, walk-in crisis center provides short-term, behavioral health crisis intervention, offering a community-based, voluntary, home-like environment as an alternative to more restrictive settings. In addition, crisis stabilization services provide an alternative to costly, overcrowded emergency rooms.

Guests admitted to a crisis-receiving facility are assessed by nurses, licensed mental health professionals, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychiatrists to determine if the individual meets one of the three criteria: a danger to self, others, or gravely ill. If one of the three criteria applies, the treating physician issues a physician emergency certificate, and the guest remains involuntarily committed.

Mental Illness Can Affect Anyone

Misconceptions about who faces issues with mental health can discourage people from seeking treatment. Commonly held misconceptions about mental health include that people with mental health conditions are violent and unpredictable or cannot hold down a job.

The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people with mental illness are not violent, and only 3%–5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population.

The reality is that mental health conditions do not discriminate. All individuals from all walks of life can suffer from mental health conditions. It can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, geography, income, social status, race/ethnicity, religion/spirituality, sexual orientation, background, or other aspects of cultural identity. You probably know many people who with mental health issues and don’t realize it. You may even be suffering from a mental health condition without realizing it. Over half of individuals with a mental illness are not seeking treatment.

Mental Illness Is Treatable

One of the reasons so many people don’t seek treatment is the pervasive, troubling idea that mental health conditions can’t be effectively treated. But just as with taking proper care of our physical health, receiving the appropriate treatment for mental health issues can help reduce your risk and improve your quality of life. Research shows treatment for mental illness works. With the right treatment, people experiencing mental health challenges can manage their illness, overcome obstacles, and lead productive lives.

Mental health services also are covered by most health plans—by law. And like physical health conditions, it’s clear the earlier you get treatment for mental illness, the better—treating conditions and issues early helps prevent them from becoming crises in the future. And you’ll feel—and do—better as a result.