Woman sitting on stairs Despiteoverall improved perceptions of mental health, young adults (18-34)are more likely to feel shame and stigma. (Photo:Shutterstock)

|

An increasing number of Americans believe that people cansuccessfully manage or even overcome the issues surroundingbipolar, borderline personality and other kinds of mental healthdisorders, according to the American Psychological Association'ssurvey, “Americans Becoming More Open About MentalHealth.”

|

The Harris Poll surveyed more than a 1,000 U.S. adults on behalfof the APA and found that the vast majority believe that peoplewith mental health disorders can get better (86 percent), and thathaving a mental health disorder is nothing to be ashamed of (87percent).

|

Still, negative perceptions persist, though they are less amongrespondents who either have a disorder or know someone whodoes.

|

Related: Employees more likely to seek mental health help,but services are lacking

|

A third of respondents (33 percent) say that “people with mentalhealth disorders scare me,” but the percentage drops for those whohave been diagnosed with a disorder (27 percent) or knew someonewho had (28 percent). For those who had never had a mental healthdiagnosis or known someone who did, the percentage rises to 42percent.

|

A significant majority of respondents (79 percent) say that lessstigma and shame around mental health disorders would lower suiciderates. Nearly all (91 percent) say that people who are suicidal canbe treated and go on to live successful lives and 87 percent saythat people should talk about suicide more openly.

|

Progress needs to be made, however, around how young adults, 18to 34, perceive mental health disorders–although they are the agegroup that report the poorest mental health of those surveyed.

|

A lower percentage (78 percent) of young adults say that havinga mental health disorder was not something to be ashamed of, andmore would keep quiet about the cause of death if a loved one diedby suicide.

|

Young adults were also more likely than older age groups tobelieve that most mental health disorders do not require treatment(35 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds, 17 percent of 35 to 64-year-oldsand 9 percent of those 65 and older).

|

“More young adults reported feeling shame and stigma surroundingmental health issues than their older peers,” says APA CEO ArthurC. Evans Jr. “This points to the need for psychology to continue toeducate the public so that more people understand that there is noshame associated with being mentally ill.”

|

Read more: 

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a freelance writer based in Running Springs, Calif. She has more than three decades of journalism experience, with particular expertise in employee benefits and other human resource topics.