Untreated mental health symptoms are a pervasive and persistent public health problem in the United States.

Although 39 million Americans identified as having a mental illness in 2019, fewer than half received treatment. If left untreated, symptom profiles can worsen, sometimes to such an extent that these individuals end up in emergency departments or attempt suicide. In 2018 alone, there were 6,905 emergency department visits related to mental health per 100,000 population.

Also: How the pandemic forever changed mental health 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network currently serves as a national hotline for individuals experiencing mental health emergencies. On July 16, the network will shift to a three-digit number (988), but the launch will require substantial effort on the part of state and local agencies to ensure sufficient capacity to handle 988 calls and connect callers with local mental health emergency services if needed.

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