LOUISVILLE, KY (WFIE) - Half of Kentucky adults say they know someone who has a serious problem with depression, and nearly seven in 10 say they know who to contact for treatment. That's according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) report, released today. But government statistics show that just 47 percent of people suffering with a mental illness get treatment or counseling.
KHIP is an annual poll of Kentucky adults about health issues and is funded jointly by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health.
"Depression is common in Kentucky, as it is elsewhere in the country, and it's important to understand that it is a serious mood disorder that can and should be treated," said Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky President and CEO Ben Chandler. "Knowing where to find help is an important first step in getting treatment or counseling, but lack of health insurance and access to integrated care can be a barrier for those trying to get help."
According to KHIP, Kentucky women and adults under the age of 65 were more likely to report knowing someone they thought was depressed, and those living at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level were more likely than those with higher incomes to know someone with depression.
Dr. Sheila Schuster, a licensed psychologist and long-time mental health advocate as Executive Director of the Kentucky Mental Health Coalition, noted "I am very excited that many Kentuckians were aware of depression as a mental health issue and knew where to go to seek treatment. It is troubling, however, to realize that many of those who are feeling depressed do not seek treatment. This may be the result of stigma, or the lack of insurance coverage or because they are hoping that 'it will just go away.' We know that depression is treatable; we also know that it should be treated and not ignored, nor handled with self-medication through alcohol or other substances. It is very important for Kentuckians to know the mental health resources and to encourage family members and friends who are struggling with depression to seek help."
For 24-hour crisis phone numbers, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services offers a provider directory by county and health plan to find help, as well as a directory of Community Mental Health Centers and psychiatric hospitals where Kentuckians dealing with depression or other mental health concerns can seek treatment.
A copy of the KHIP poll is available here.