May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we at ILDP believe it is a topic worth highlighting much more than once a year. We are a data-driven, evidenced-based laboratory and unfortunately, the statistics related to mental health don’t lie. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 US adults experience mental illness each year, with roughly 12.5 million adults battling serious mental illness. Indeed, mental disorders rank third among the most frequent diseases, trailing only cancer and cardiovascular disease (WHO World Health Report, 2017).
The pandemic has potentiated this problem, as you might expect. Greater than 40% of US adults have experienced high levels of psychological distress at some point during the pandemic, up from 24%, with that number rising to 58% among those aged 18 to 29 (Pew Research Center). Unfortunately, as mental health concerns like isolation, depression, and anxiety continue to increase, so to does the use of illicit substances and overdose-related deaths. The overall drug overdose death rate rose by 50% during the pandemic, reaching a peak in 2021 with 106,600 overdose deaths in the US – the highest ever recorded.
We have highlighted the opioid and substance abuse epidemics in many prior blog posts, but worth specific mention this month is the fact that 7.6% of adults experience both a substance use disorder and a mental illness. That equates to 19.4 million people in the US (NAMI, 2021). A major key to identifying, managing, and overcoming substance use disorders is reliable toxicology testing (ASAM Public Policy Statement). Indeed, treatment of a substance use disorder is not only associated with reduction in suicide and overdose deaths but also with reduced rates of anxiety and depression (Iqbal, 2019).
Industry Labs is committed to improving the physical and mental health of the communities we serve. We know patients with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders need fast and accurate results, so we combine cutting edge technology with industry-leading speed and service to provide exactly that. At ILDP we care about mental health, we care about your patients, and we are ready to partner with you however we can to support the overall wellbeing of your community.
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org. To locate treatment facilities or providers, call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357).
ILDP Director of Clinical Treatment