NYC Department of Health finds 1 in 5 New Yorkers have mental health disorders

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Nov 13, 2015 06:00 AM EST

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 16: People are viewed in an area which has witnessed an explosion in the use of K2 or 'Spice', a synthetic marijuana drug, in East Harlem on September 16, 2015 in New York City. In a a news conference today with William Bratton, the police commissioner and Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, it was announced that the Federal and New York City authorities have broken up a group that trafficked in synthetic marijuana. New York, along with other cities, is experiencing a deadly epidemic of synthetic marijuana usage which can cause extreme reactions in some users. According to New York's health department, more than 120 people visited an emergency room in the city in just one week in April. (Photo : Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A report by New York City's Department of Health states that one in five New Yorkers suffers from a mental health disorder including depression, suicidal thoughts, or substance abuse every year.

According to the NY Department of Health, at least 8 percent suffer from depressive symptoms each year.

"Major depressive disorder is the single greatest source of disability in NYC," the report stated. "At any given time over half a million adult New Yorkers are estimated to have depression, yet less than 40 percent report receiving care for it."

The report also stated statistics including 73,000 public high schoolers "feeling sad" or "hopeless" every month and 8 percent of them attempting suicide. It was revealed that accidental drug overdose deaths are higher than homicide and car accident fatalities. Substance abuse is the leading cause of premature death in NY neighborhoods and more than 1,800 die from alcohol abuse every year.

Furthermore, the report explains that mental illness can happen at any point in life and can be jumpstarted from adverse events experienced during the early years of life.

"The first few years of life play a profound role in a person's ability to manage emotions in a healthy way," the report states. "Childhood exposure to adverse events—such as domestic violence, neglect, abuse, family financial strain, and divorce (or certain community conditions such as unsafe neighborhoods)—are all associated with chronic diseases and threats to mental health in adulthood."

The report continues on to explain in detail and thru statistics the impact of mental illness from adolescence, young adulthood to late adulthood. It also detailed how the city's economy is affected by the effects of mental illness. Alcohol abuse, depression and drug addiction reportedly accounts for billions in losses every year.

Reuters reports that the report comes just several weeks before the NYC Mayor Bill de Blaiso releases his mental-health initiative.

"We have a set of public health issues that affect many people and affect them very deeply," said Dr. Gary Belkin, deputy commissioner at NYC health department. "We know what we're going to be doing, and over the coming weeks you're going to be hearing about it."

The plan will be released by the end of the year and will be targeting various psychological disorders such as how to treat and prevent them from befalling among residents. The Mayor's wife, Chirlane McCray said in August that a budget of $386 million has been set aside for mental health projects in the three years.

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