Yes, we are a tax firm. But this blog post has nothing to do with taxes. It is about a topic that is much more important. October 10 is World Mental Health Day, and mental health affects us, our employees, our clients, and our loved ones. And especially now, as the pandemic persists, we believe it’s important to share an update on mental health challenges and recent developments that give us hope for the future.

Did you know that¹ …

    • 1 in 5 US adults experiences mental illness each year.
    • 5% of US adults experienced serious mental illness in 2019.
    • 17% of youth (aged 6 to 17) experience a mental health disorder.
    • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 10 to 34.
    • The suicide rate has increased 35% since 1999.
    • The average delay between symptoms onset and treatment is 11 years.
    • 55% of adults with a mental health diagnosis did not receive treatment or counseling in the past year.
    • At least 8.4 million people in the US provide care to an adult with a mental or emotional health issue.
    • 70% of youth in the juvenile justice system have a diagnosed mental illness.
    • Anxiety disorders and major depressive episodes affect 27% of US adults annually (68 million people).
    • Modern therapeutic practices, often augmented with new and effective pharmaceuticals, are typically extremely effective!

Most of us are in tune with our physical health. We know when we break a bone or tear a tendon. We’re familiar with the pain of a migraine headache or a serious cut. And we certainly react and respond to a critical diagnosis from a cardiologist, neurologist, or oncologist. With each of these primary care conditions, we immediately seek treatment.

So why is it that the average delay between the onset of mental health symptoms and treatment is 11 years?

The answer lies in the challenges of seeking treatment for mental health conditions:

1. Stigma: Many of us are hesitant to disclose that we are suffering from a mental health condition even though its prevalence is widespread. We may think it will make us seem weak or vulnerable. We may fear that others will exaggerate our condition or use it against us (even if they don’t mean to). Often, we fear they won’t understand.

HOPE – Fortunately, times are changing and many more of us are less hesitant to discuss our mental health concerns. Some tell us that many celebrities feel undeserving of their status if they do NOT see a psychologist regularly!

2. Financial: The demand for mental health professionals’ services is up significantly (even more so after COVID), while the number of providers is shrinking. The imbalance between supply and demand for services, the overall upward pressure on medical care in general, a lack of adequate and affordable health care insurance, and limited availability of safety net programs all contribute to making mental health care unaffordable to many.

HOPE – In recent years, state and federal legislation has mandated that mental health coverage be provided along with primary care coverage under health care insurance policies. As recognition of our mental health crisis becomes more widespread, dedicated resources are expected to increase.

3. Cultural: Traditions and biases within certain cultures and demographic segments of society often disregard mental health conditions and/or fail to recognize the efficacy of modern medical treatment in successfully treating mental illnesses. Did you know that 78% of people who die from suicide are male and that Asian-Americans and African-Americans are less likely to seek treatment than White Americans?

HOPE – The world is getting “smaller,” and recognition of mental illness in the US is increasing. Some cultural and demographic barriers are being challenged.

4. Lack of parity with primary care delivery systems: Mental health care systems are less developed, less funded, less efficient, and less understood by most Americans than primary care health systems.

HOPE – This too is changing in important ways. Federal, state, and local governments are revamping their mental health delivery systems. Did you know that Congress recently authorized a 3-digit national crisis and suicide prevention hotline? When fully developed, the number to call will be 9-8-8.


Want to help? Here are a few things you can do.

1. Talk to family and friends about your and their mental health concerns. Drop any sense of stigma. Recognize that you do not need to be a health expert to make a big difference. And don’t be afraid to ask about suicidal inclinations. Research has shown that raising the subject does not introduce or encourage suicide, but rather more often interdicts it.

2. Learn the signs of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental health conditions.

3. Support nonprofit community organizations that provide mental health services to those that have limited or no access to care. Or share resources that could help others. Here are a few options:

• Did you know that PRS, Inc., a Virginia nonprofit (501(c)(3) organization) runs CrisisLink, the biggest suicide-prevention hotline in the state? It can be reached via phone at 1.800.273.TALK (8255); by texting “CONNECT” TO 855-11; or via chat on the web:

• Access Hope, another local nonprofit, has also recently partnered with PRS to expand mental health services in Northern Virginia amid the ongoing pandemic.

• The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) also offers a wealth of resources

At The Wolf Group, mental health is a subject near to our hearts.

Our principals are strong advocates for mental health. We care about our employees, clients, and loved ones, and we’re active in providing resources and promoting environments that foster their mental well-being.

In addition, we at The Wolf Group support several nonprofit organizations providing mental health services to those who would otherwise not have access to care in our community. Know of nonprofits with similar missions? Let us know. Together, we can work to overcome the barriers to timely, quality care. Eleven years is too long for those suffering to struggle on their own.


¹Per the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), at