People have a lot of assumptions about mental illness. There’s a stigma attached to being mentally ill, a shame that comes along with it and renders it a difficult subject to talk about.
The best way to begin combatting stereotypes about mental illness is to get educated.
Here are five fast stats about mental illness and it’s prevalence in the U.S.
1. Just over 18 percent of adults in the U.S. have reported that they suffer from a mental illness.
According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, approximately 43.6 million adults suffered from a mental illness. Of that 43.6 million, 9.8 million people suffered from a serious form of mental illness.
The SAMHSA defines mental illness as “having a diagnosable mental, behavioral or emotional disorder, other than a developmental or substance use order.”
This includes three levels of mental illness severity: mild mental illness, moderate mental illness and serious mental illness.
2. Only 44 percent of U.S. adults receive treatment for their mental health condition.
According to MentalHealth.gov, less than half of adults with “diagnosable mental health problems” seek out treatment. The number is even less for children or adolescents, with only 20 percent getting help.
3. Anxiety disorders and major depression are the most prevalent mental illnesses in the U.S.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 18.1 percent of adults (42 million) have anxiety disorders while 6.9 percent have major depression (16 million).
These two disorders often go hand in hand, with nearly half of those with depression also suffering from an anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
4. 45 percent of people who suffer from a mental illness meet the criteria for two or more disorders.
According to The Kim Foundation, many people have to deal with multiple mental illnesses at a time. The presence of two diseases or conditions at the same time is called comorbidity and can often increase the severity of each disease.
5. 90 percent of people who commit suicide had one or more mental disorders.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. This makes it even more dangerous than homicide. It’s particularly deadly for people ages 15 to 24, being the 3rd leading cause of death for that age group.