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September 24, 2014

Fixing the Troubled Mental Health System

Author Affiliations
  • 1Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, New York
  • 2New York State Office of Mental Health, Albany
  • 3University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore
  • 4Sheppard Pratt Health System, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA. 2014;312(12):1195-1196. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.10369

Untreated and poorly treated serious mental illness affects the lives of individuals, families, and communities every day. Each year, approximately 39 000 people commit suicide,1 and the majority of them have acute mental illness. More than half of suicides are the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.1 Many other persons with serious mental illness have lives of isolation, are homeless, or are incarcerated. Because of the stigma of mental illness, an inability to know that they are ill, or troubling experiences with mental health services, people with mental illness often do not seek or follow through with treatment.

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