Mental health care a major problem for state of Ohio

By: Mary Macrae – Staff Writer

In late February, Mental Health America [MHA] conducted a nationwide survey, which placed the state of Ohio at 21 out of the 50 states for its prevalence of mental illness and rates of access to care for these mental illnesses.

Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine were the three highest ranking states in the survey, while Nevada, Mississippi and Arizona finished at the bottom.

According to Dayton Business Journal, Ohio ranks No. 10 when it comes to the amount of mental health care centers for youth in the state. In turn, Ohio ranked No. 26 in the general state of mental health care for adults.

The MHA report states 18 percent of adults suffer from mental illness. The amount of young adults who suffer the same mental problems is drastically lower.

Around 42 million adults suffer from mental illness, while 6.2 million youths feel the same symptoms.

Almost 20 million adults reported a substance abuse problem and 8.8 million reported thoughts of suicide. Nearly 2 million youths reported a substance abuse problem, but just over eight percent of youths said they have suicidal thoughts.

Around 2.1 million youths reported having at least one major depressive episode in the past year.

About eight million of the adults who suffer from mental illness are uninsured. Almost 42 percent of adults with mental illnesses are receiving treatment. Ohio ranked 28 among the states when it comes to uninsured adults suffering from mental illness.

Nationally, there is only one mental health care provider for every 790 people in need of help.

College campuses across the country, including the University of Dayton, provide a number of options for college students who are suffering from mental illness to receive free treatment. A majority of  students at UD would count in the adult category of this survey.

Molly Moesner, a first-year communication major, realizes that even though she does not have problems with mental health, there is importance in being mentally healthy and knows how helpful the opportunities given to students by UD’s mental health center can be.

“I personally do not suffer [and] have [not] suffered from a particular mental illness, but there are times when I’m stressed,” Moesner said.

UD provides help and opportunities for students who are having these types of problems in their lives. The counseling center and ministry facilities on campus provide students with experts and caring individuals who can aid those who feel like they are suffering from these mental health issues or just need someone to talk to.

“If students are struggling, we would encourage them to take advantage of the services that are here right on campus and are of easy access to them,” Steve Mueller, Ph.D., assistant vice president of health and wellness and director of the counseling center, said.

Mueller emphasized that these services are free to UD students.

“This is one of the few times in a person’s life where if they have got some personal issues, they can seek some services out for free,” Mueller said.

“We have the counseling center which is one of those services for a professional mental health type of service.” Mueller said.  “We have the campus ministry, which provides for pastoral support in the residence halls where people can reach out for help and talk”

Kelly Noonan, a first-year business major, believes students should take advantage of the counselling center.

“Mental health is an important issue to many college students’ lives,” Noonan said. “And therefore should be of high importance to universities around the country.”