According to a recent survey of National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) there are an estimated 11.2 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States with a Serious Mental Illness (SMI) in 2017. This represented 4.5% of all US adults. (1)
An SMI is defined as a mental, behavioral or emotional disorder resulting in serious functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activity. The burden of these illnesses is particularly concentrated among those who experience disability and thus are the focus of our needs assessment as we feel it is this population that can most benefit from our program.
The highest prevalence of SMI in 2017 was among young adults ages 18-25 years old, accounting for 7.5% of their population. This represents about 1 in every 13 young adults in the United States. However, only 57.4% of this population of young adults affected by SMI receive mental health treatment.(1) This means that over 1 million young adults in the USA that are affected by a serious mental illness go without treatment.
These statistics mean that we are failing an entire generation. While there have been improvements in school and community awareness over the last few years about detecting and diagnosing serious mental illness, there is little done after the diagnosis. Treatment is proposed and suggested, but it is still voluntary. Many young adults diagnosed with severe mental illness are faced with symptoms that cause difficulty in acceptance of their disease. Then there are the unwanted side-effects of the medications. Not to mention the cost of the medication (up to $1000 a month) that requires a lengthy process of acceptance into the public Medicaid and Medicare program that so many do not take the time to enroll or maintain their benefits.
The only remedy to help this population of young adults affected by serious mental disorders is to offer them a safe and nurturing environment that they cannot find on their own. There are several private facilities that offer the types of services that we are proposing, but the cost is completely out of range financially for most individuals. The fees for private assisted living facilities for mental health patients is between $15,000 to $25,000 per month. There exist supportive housing organizations that help individuals find placement in private or group homes, even public housing, but the waiting lists are almost endless and often the short-term solutions are homeless shelters and transitional (Half-way) homes, often in urban, low-income areas with high crime rates. Also, this solution acts only for one individual at a time, rather than finding a solution for the mass of population that needs help.