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Mental illness requiring hospitalization most common among early- to mid-career Pennsylvanians
Patriot-News - 10/9/2019
Pennsylvanian’s between 18 and 44 are most likely to be hospitalized because of mental illness. They accounted for about half of such hospitalizations in 2018, according to data from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council.
People between 45 and 64 accounted for 27 percent, people under 18 accounted for about 14 percent, people between 65 and 74 accounted for about five percent, and people over 75 accounted for less than three percent.
The data further reveals people living in rural counties had the highest rates of hospitalizations for mental illness. Carbon County had the highest rate, about 147 hospitalizations per 10,000 state residents. Counties including Jefferson, Venango, Blair, Warren and Mifflin also had rates well above Pennsylvania’s overall rate of about 89 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents.
The PHC4, an independent, state-funded agency, said it published the data in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Week to shed light on the extent of serious mental illness in the state.
The higher rates of hospitalizations in rural areas could reflect a lack of local psychiatrists and basic mental health care, causing people to go without treatment until they reach a crisis.
Overall, people were hospitalized as a result of mental illness 113,704 times in 2018. About 56 percent took place at regular hospitals, and 44 percent took place at psychiatric hospitals.
RELATED: Psychiatrist shortage causing suffering, risk of jail and suicide in central Pa.
Depression was the most common cause of the hospitalizations, accounting for 44 percent. Other leading conditions were bipolar and schizophrenia, with each accounting for roughly 20 percent. About four percent of hospitalizations involved people who were suicidal.
The average length of the hospital stays was about 10 days, with people admitted to psychiatric hospitals staying an average of nearly 4 days longer than those admitted to regular hospitals.
There’s a shortage of mental health services in Pennsylvania and most of the country, with the shortages considered a factor in rising suicide rates.
Pennsylvania this year created a Suicide Prevention Task Force to develop a strategy to prevent suicide.
The task force recently began a statewide listening tour to obtain input from people impacted by suicide.
The session for Harrisburg region residents is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Jewish Community Center in York. The address is 2000 Hollywood Drive, 17403.
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