Every single year, millions of Americans suffer with a mental illness. By definition, a mental illness is a disorder that negatively affects a person’s thoughts, feelings, mood, and/or behavior. Examples include depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Each individual has a unique experience, as far as which symptoms they experience and for how long, but one thing is certain: the mental illness poses a challenge to life as they know it. Let’s take a look at some facts and statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Illness:
The Prevalence of Mental Illness
Many don’t realize just how prevalent mental illness is. That said, millions of people in just the US suffer with various mental illnesses:
- Approximately 1 in 5 (43.8 million) adults in the US experiences a mental illness each year.
- Approximately 1 in 25 (9.8 million) adults in the US experiences a serious mental illness every year that significantly interferes with their day to day life.
- Approximately 1 in 5 teens aged 13-18 experiences a severe mental disorder at some point in adolescence.
Demographical and Social Stats
Some people think, “It could never happen to me,” or, “My friends and family are healthy.” In reality, though, mental illness doesn’t discriminate. People of all ages, demographics, genders, and race can develop mental disorders. That said, here are some interesting statistics about specific social groups:
- It is estimated that 26% of homeless adults living in shelters suffer with a serious mental illness, while 46% suffer with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorder.
- Around 20% of state prisoners and 21% of local prisoners have recently struggled with a mental health condition.
- Approximately 70% of youth in the juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition.
Mental Health Treatment
In many cases, people are hesitant to seek mental health treatment, out of fear of judgment or criticism. Fortunately, more and more people are feeling comfortable and seeking out the mental health help they need:
- Approximately 41% of adults in the US with a mental illness received mental health treatment in the past year.
- Just over 50% of children in the US with a mental illness, between ages 8-15, received mental health treatment in the past year.
The Impact of Mental Illness
Mental illnesses come with harmful symptoms that make day to day life difficult. Here’s a glance at the impact:
- Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
- Mood disorders—such as depression and bipolar disorder—are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the US for those 18-44 years of age.
- On average, adults in the US with serious mental illness die 25 years earlier than others.
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, while it’s the 3rd for ages 10-14 and the 2nd for ages 15-24.
90% of individuals who die by suicide have an underlying mental health condition.
Get Mental Health Help Today
If you’re struggling in any way with your mental health, know that you are not alone—many of the statistics above are a testament to that. We all have to remember the importance of mental health and do what we can to prioritize our overall wellbeing daily. If you need help understanding, managing, or overcoming something that threatens your mental and emotional wellbeing, seek mental health treatment. A caring, skilled professional can help.