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- Approximately 61.5 million Americans, or one in four adults, experience mental illness in a given year. Serious mental illness affects about 13.6 million, or one in 17, adults. In addition, 18.1 percent of American adults−nearly 42 million people−live with anxiety disorders and another 6.7 percent of American adults−about 14.8 million people−suffer with major depression.
Almost 60% of adults and half of children years 8 to 15 with a mental illness received no services in the past year. A common barrier to mental health treatment is cost. Costs can be defined as direct costs, the expenditures for mental health services and treatment, and indirect cost related to the disability caused by these disorders. Indirect costs are profound, accounting for $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) conservatively estimates the total costs associated with serious mental illness to be in excess of $300 billion per year, and in a recent study, 45.7% of adults claimed that they could not afford the cost of treatment.
Bibliotherapy is a collaborative effort between mental health professionals and librarians to provide patrons and patients with effective reading material that can complement their treatment or wellness objectives. It is a proven intervention that can be used in a variety of treatment environments. Bibliotherapy can be used to supplement traditional therapy or as a self-directed exercise to correct negative behaviors by developing positive mental health strategies. By increasing the effectiveness of treatment, bibliotherapy can help reduce the direct and indirect costs associated with mental illness while, at the same time, increasing positive health outcomes.
- University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
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