The mental health problem in the United States is not improving.

In fact, Mental Health America’s statistics show more young people are reporting symptoms of depression and the number of depressed adults increased by one million over the last year.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, mental health issues among adults were on the rise.

Those suffering, however, are not having their needs met.

Figures show 60% of youth with major depression did not receive any mental health treatment in 2017-18. Among youth with severe depression, only 27.3% received consistent treatment. Just less than 24% of adults with a mental illness reported an unmet need for treatment in 2017-18. This number has not declined since 2011.

This area is lucky to have Pathways deploying its latest effort to change those figures: The agency has launched a mobile behavioral health clinic to take help to areas that need it most but don’t have access.

Called Pathways To Go, the RV that delivers help recently had an open house to show the community what is available. It includes Narcan distribution, information about getting into recovery and other behavioral and recovery services, as well as hot spots so visitors with limited or no Internet access can get telehealth services. Primary care physicians also may partner with the center, making it a one-stop shop.

We are sad that eastern Kentucky has such a problem with mental illness, but that is the case.

Appalachian Kentucky adults report feeling mentally unhealthy about 25% more often than average Americans, and about 15% more often than adults elsewhere in Kentucky, a report by the Foundation For A Healthy Kentucky found.

Mental health and physical health are inextricably linked and both must be addressed for an individual to be well, or for a community to be well. By Pathways offering a mobile unit, many more who need help will be reached. That is a huge step in the right direction for the area, which has at least its fair share of mental illness.

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