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Frequent Mental Distress Among Adults, by Disability Status and Disability Type

People with disabilities

Frequent Mental Distress Among Adults, by Disability Status and Disability Type

Frequent Mental Distress Among Adults, by Disability Status, Disability Type, and Selected Characteristics, United States 2018

Adults with disabilities, compared with those without disabilities, experience more mental distress and are more likely to experience factors associated with a higher occurrence of mental disorders, including poverty and limited heath care access.

What are the implications for public health practice?

Frequent mental distress, defined as 14 or more self-reported mentally unhealthy days is associated with adverse health behaviors, increased use of health services, mental disorders (e.g., diagnosis of major depressive disorder), chronic diseases, and functional limitations.

Adults with disabilities more often report depression and anxiety, reduced health care access, and health-related risk behaviors than do adults without disabilities.

CDC analyzed 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data to compare the prevalence of frequent mental distress among adults with disabilities with that among adults without disabilities and to identify factors associated with mental distress among those with disabilities.

In 2018, an estimated 17.4 million U.S. adults with disabilities reported frequent mental distress across a range of demographic characteristics (including poverty and marital status).

The prevalence of reported mental distress among those with disabilities (32.9%) was 4.6 times that of those without disabilities (7.2%). Among adults with disabilities, those with both cognitive and mobility disabilities most frequently reported mental distress (55.6%).

Having a diagnosed depressive disorder was associated with experiencing frequent mental distress, with approximately one half of adults with disabilities and a diagnosed depressive disorder reporting distress. One in six adults with disabilities who did not have a diagnosed depressive disorder reported frequent mental distress, possibly representing adults with undiagnosed mental disorders.

Health care providers caring for adults with disabilities might focus on the primary disability but miss opportunities to identify and treat co-occurring mental health conditions.

Furthermore, symptoms associated with some physical disabilities and chronic conditions, as well as overall level of functional impairment, might be exacerbated by mental distress and might improve with mental health treatment.

To ensure recommended clinical management and referral, providers could consider screening their clients for mental health symptoms, even if mental health concerns are unrelated to the primary condition for which adults are being seen.

To promote overall well-being, health care providers and public health professionals can also focus on promoting healthy lifestyles, such as maintaining a healthy weight, meeting physical activity recommendations, quitting smoking, and getting sufficient sleep, given that these findings indicate unhealthy lifestyles are associated with mental distress.

Targeted interventions and programs and policies that ensure receipt of mental health screening, care, and support services could help reduce mental distress among adults with disabilities.

 

Link to the original article Here