Facts and Statistics

Statistics on mental illness are available through a wide variety of Web sites, books, professional journals newsletters and magazines. Following are just some of these.

General Facts and Statistics on Mental Illness

 

The number of Americans affects by specific mental illnesses include:

Mental illness costs about $79 billion annually, of which $63 billion is the loss of productivity in the workplace. The Centers for Disease Control stated in 2011 that 50 percent of us will experience a mental disorder’s symptoms during our lifetime. (http://yourlife.usatoday.com/health/medical/mentalhealth/story/2011-09-05/CDC-Half-of-Americans-will-suffer-from-mental-health-woes/50250702/1)

Mental illnesses are the leading illness-related cause of disability in North America, Europe and increasingly, the world. (“Facts and Figures,” from http://mentalhealthadvocacycoalition.org, March 2011)

Mental illnesses are a major cause of school failure and a major factor in chronic homelessness. (“Facts and Figures,” from http://mentalhealthadvocacycoalition.org, March 2011)

Two out of three adults do not receive treatment for their mental illness. (Mental Health Advocacy Coalition – http://www.mentalhealthadvocacy.org)

80-90% of people who live with a serious mental illness are unemployed. (depression – OUT OF THE SHADOWS)

A diagnosable mental health problem affects at least one in four of all Americans aged 18 and older in a given year. (Statistics, National Institute of Mental Health, website 2010)

In the United States in 2009, among adults aged 18 or older, 45.1 million people were classified with a mental health problem (Results from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Findings, SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, December 2010, p. 8. Quoted from SAMHSA publication Recovery Benefits Everyone – TARGETED OUTREACH, p. 16), and 8.9 million people had co-occurring substance use and mental disorders (Ibid. p. 35).

One out of every five young people and one out of four college students or adults suffers from some form of diagnosable mental illness. (Borchard, Therese J., September 2, 2010, Statistics About College Depression. Retrieved from PSYCHCENTRAL WEBSITE, http://www.psychcentral.com)

Over 66 percent of young people with a substance use disorder have a co-occurring mental health problem. (Borchard, Therese J., September 2, 2010, Statistics About College Depression. Retrieved from PSYCHCENTRAL WEBSITE, http://www.psychcentral.com)

Over two-thirds of young people do not talk about or seek help for mental health problems. (Borchard, Therese J., September 2, 2010, Statistics About College Depression. Retrieved from PSYCHCENTRAL WEBSITE, http://www.psychcentral.com)

1,400,000 veterans have a serious mental illness. (http://mentalhealthadvocacycoalition.org) 80-90 percent of people that seek the necessary form of mental health treatment can function the way they used to. (Borchard, Therese J., September 2, 2010, Statistics About College Depression. Retrieved from PSYCHCENTRAL WEBSITE, http://www.psychcentral.com)

Treatment for mental health problems works. Research has shown that after three weeks of treatment at a mental health outpatient program, the work impairment of employees living with mental health problems was cut nearly in half, from 31 percent to 18 percent. (The High Costs of Cutting Mental Health: Mental Illness and the Workplace, NAMI website January 2010, pp. 1, 2. Quoted from SAMHSA publication Recovery Benefits Everyone – TARGETED OUTREACH, p. 16) Treatment works. In fact, the treatment success rates for some common mental health illnesses are approximately: 80% for bipolar disorder; 70% for major depression, obsessive-compulsive and panic disorders; and 60% for schizophrenia. (“Facts and Figures,” from http://mentalhealthadvocacycoalition.org, March 2011)

Fifty percent of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14. (http://mentalhealthadvocacycoalition.org).

Twenty percent of older adults experience mental disorders that are not part of the normal aging process. (http://mentalhealthadvocacycoalition.org)

Mental illness disorders are prevalent in prisoners in state prisons and local jails. The Los Angeles County jail was identified as the nation’s largest mental institution (Geller, Jeffrey L., 2000. Excluding Institutions for mental diseases from federal reimbursement for services: Strategy or tragedy? Psychiatric Services 51 (11), 1397-1403). (In 2014, it was identified as the Cook County Jail, in Chicago).

“Ten times more individuals with serious mental illness are residing in state prisons and county jails today than in the nation’s state psychiatric hospitals, according to a new study released today by the Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC). ‘The Treatment of Persons with Mental Illness in Prisons and Jails: A State Survey’ found that in 44 states the largest institution housing people with severe psychiatric disease is a prison or jail.” (Psychiatric News Alert, April 8, 2014)

Patients diagnosed with a serious mental disorder die 25 years earlier than the general population. (Program Brief, September 2009, p.1, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, www.ahrq.gov; and CDC, Preventing Chronic Disease, Vol. 3: No. 2, April 2006.) Top

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) affects 4.5 million Americans and is the most common cause of dementia among the elderly. AD also can include hallucinations, agitation, and other signs of psychosis. (Dilsworth-Anderson, Hendrie, Manly, et al., “Diagnosis and assessment of Alzheimer’s disease in diverse populations,” Alzheimer’s and Dementia 4:305-309, 2008). Twenty-four percent of those caring for persons with Alzheimer’s disease will end up visiting the emergency department or being admitted to the hospital. (Schubert, Boustani, Callahan, et al., “Acute care utilization by dementia caregivers within urban primary care practices,” Journal of General Internal Medicine 23(11): 1736-1740, 2008).

According to the Alzheimer’s Association:

  • 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • One in eight older Americans has Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.
  • More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care valued at $210 billion for persons with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
  • Payments for care are estimated to be $200 billion in the United States in 2012.

(Alzheimer’s Association. 2012 Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures. Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. March 2012; 8:131–168.)

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Autism Spectrum Disorder

The estimated number of U.S. autistic kids has skyrocketed by 78% since 2000, according to a report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • One in 88 American kids has autism, according to the new figures. Among boys, it’s one in 54.
  • Why? One expert says: “Better diagnosis, broader diagnosis, better awareness, and roughly 50% of ‘We don’t know.'”
  • One advocate says: “we have an epidemic of autism in the United States.”

(CNN Breaking News Thursday, March 29, 2012)

An estimated 1 in 68 children has an autism spectrum disorder, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today, a 30% increase over its 2012 estimate of 1 in 88 children. The rate works out to 14.7 children per 1,000 8-year-olds, the CDC said. The data shows that autism spectrum disorders are nearly five times more common in boys than girls, and more common in white children compared to African-American or Hispanic children. (CNN Breaking News Thursday, March 27, 2013) Top

Bipolar Disorder

Straight-A students, particularly in the humanities, are up to four times more likely to develop bipolar disorder. The research supports existing literature that has consistently linked linguistic and musical creativity with the condition (The British Journal of Psychiatry, cited in bp, Spring 2011). Top

Children

10% of kids from birth to 3 years old have a psychiatric impairment. (Time, March 21, 2011, p. 39) 90% of preschoolers impaired by anxiety, depression or both are still impaired when they reach school age. (Time, March 21, 2011, p. 39) Mental health intervention initiatives, including school-based programs that target cognitive, problem-solving, and social skills of children and adolescents, have been found to reduce depressive symptom levels by 50 percent or more, one year after the intervention. (Prevention of Mental disorders: Effective interventions and Policy Options. The World Health Organization website p. 36. Accessed November 28, 2010. Quoted from SAMHSA publication National Recovery Month September 2011, Fast Facts, , p. 1) According to the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study, childhood stressors such as abuse, witnessing domestic violence, and other forms of household dysfunction increase the likelihood of depression and suicide attempts in children, adolescents, and adults. (Findings of the Adverse Childhood Experience Study, ACE Reporter. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study website. pp. 1, 2 Winter 2006). Mental illness affects 70 percent of youths in juvenile justice systems. (http://www.ncsl.org/documents/cj/iiguidebook-mental.pdf) Suicide was the second leading cause of death among children aged 12-17 years in 2010. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which released the first comprehensive report on children’s mental health in the United States: “Mental Health Surveillance Among Children – United States, 2005-2011” http://www.cdc.gov/features/childrensmentalhealth/) Top

Depression

Major depression affects approximately 15 million American adults or about 8% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. (depression OUT OF THE SHADOWS) Approximately 80% of people experiencing depression are not currently receiving any treatment. (depression OUT OF THE SHADOWS) Women experience depression about twice as often as men. (depression OUT OF THE SHADOWS) 44 percent of American college students reported feeling symptoms of depression. (Borchard, Therese J., September 2, 2010, Statistics About College Depression. Retrieved from PSYCHCENTRAL WEBSITE, http://www.psychcentral.com) Teens diagnosed with depression are five times more likely to attempt suicide than adults. (Borchard, Therese J., September 2, 2010, Statistics About College Depression. Retrieved from PSYCHCENTRAL WEBSITE, http://www.psychcentral.com) One in four young adults will suffer a depressive episode between the ages of 18 and 25. (Kuwabara, Voorheers, Gollan, and Alexander, “A qualitative exploration of depression in emerging adulthood: Disorder, development, and social context,” General Hospital Psychiatry 29:317-324, 2007). 70 percent: The recovery rate for adults with major depression who get treatment. (http://mentalhealthadvocacycoalition.org). Patients with chronic illnesses such as cancer, arthritis, migraines and HIV have twice the risk of being diagnosed with depression as individuals who don’t suffer from chronic pain (esperanza, Fall 2010, p. 30). “Research shows that if a person has more than four prior major depressions, there is increased risk for cognitive dysfunction as well as dementia in old age.” (Researcher Robert Post, M.D., in NAMI Advocate, Winter 2011, p. 21) Top

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are real, treatable medical illnesses with complex underlying psychological and biological causes. They frequently co-exist with other psychiatric disorders such as depression, substance abuse or anxiety disorders. (OF-1-MIND Action Update, February 22, 2010, www.OF-1-MIND.org) Eating disorders—causing immeasurable suffering for individuals and their families—have reached epidemic levels in America:

  • Seven to ten million women
  • One million men

All segments of society are affected: Men and women, young and old, rich and poor, all ethnicities, all socio-economic levels. (“Eating Disorders are Widespread and Destructive”, National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, from http://www.anag.org, March 2011) 40 percent of newly identified cases of anorexia are in girls 15-19 years old. (Hoek, H.W., & van Hoeken, D., 2003. Review of the prevalence and incidence of eating disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 383-396). Only one-third of people with anorexia in the community receive mental health care. Only 6 percent of people with bulimia receive mental health care. (Hoek, H.W., & van Hoeken, D., 2003. Review of the prevalence and incidence of eating disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 383-396). An estimated 5 million young females suffer from eating disorders each year, and eating disorders are the deadliest mental illness, claiming more lives than any other illness. (Borchard, Therese J., September 2, 2010, Statistics About College Depression. Retrieved from PSYCHCENTRAL WEBSITE, http://www.psychcentral.com) Top

Economic Costs of Mental Illness

Each mental health consumer who becomes employed saves taxpayers approximately $1,000 per month in taxes paid, lowered assistance costs and lowered mental health service costs. (“Facts and Figures,” from http://www.mentalhealthadvocacycoalition.org, March 2011) The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) conservatively estimates the total costs associated with serious mental illness, those disorders that are severely debilitating and affect about 6 percent of the adult population, to be in excess of $300 billion per year. This estimate is based on 2002 data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Social Security Administration, and findings from the NIMH-funded National Comorbidity Survey – Replication (NCS-R). The costs associated with mental illness stem from both the direct expenditures for mental health services and treatment (direct costs) and from expenditures and losses related to the disability caused by these disorders (indirect costs). Indirect costs include public expenditures for disability support and lost earnings among people with serious mental illness. 2.2 Hours: Lost per workday by an employee with untreated depression or anxiety. (http://www.mentalhealthadvocacycoalition.org,) Depression accounts for close to $1 billion in lost workdays each year and … more than $11 billion in other costs accrue from decreased productivity due to symptoms that sap energy, affect work habits and cause problems with concentration, memory and decision making. (Matt Krumrie, Depression at Work, Monster.com, April 28, 2009.) The annual economic cost of mental health problems is estimated to be at least $79 billion. Most of that amount—approximately $63 billion—reflects the cost of lost productivity in the workplace. (New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, Achieving the Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America, 2003. the NAMI website. Accessed November 14, 2010.) Top

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event. 31.3 million U.S. citizens are struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. 1 in every 5 military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan has PTSD. (http://winoverptsd.com, April 23, 2011) Each year, approximately 8,000 veterans die by suicide, and several studies place the rate of PTSD in returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan at approximately 40%. Veterans widely experience anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders. (APA Psychiatric News Alert, July 23, 2014) Between 15 and 40 percent of ICU survivors experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder by the time they leave the hospital. (“Changing Intensive Care To Improve Life Afterward,” The Wall Street Journal, February 15, 2011) Top

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is:

  • Youth’s greatest disabler—the age of onset is usually between 16 and 25—and teens with schizophrenia have a very high risk of attempted suicide.
  • Found all over the world in all races, in all cultures and in all social classes.
  • More common than most people think—it affects 1 in 100 people worldwide.
(Arm Yourself with the Facts, Family and Friends Section, from http://www.Openthedoors.com, March 2011)

About 1% of the world population is affected by schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is amongst the 10 disorders with the greatest loss of disability adjusted life years. It is also the most expensive psychiatric disorder due to its high indirect costs. (“Schizophrenia”, World Psychiatric Association, from http://www.WPAnet.org, March 2011) Schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects about 2 million Americans—twice the number living with HIV/AIDS. (NAMI, The Soloist: A Call to Action, April 23, 2009.) Top

Stigma

Stereotypes are one of the largest barriers preventing young people from seeking the help they need. (Borchard, Therese J., September 2, 2010, Statistics About College Depression. Retrieved from PSYCHCENTRAL WEBSITE, http://www.psychcentral.com) According to one survey in the United States, even after five years of normal living and hard work, an ex-mental patient was rated as less acceptable than an ex-convict. (“Consequences of Stigma,” Family and Friends Section , from http://www.Openthedoors.com, March 2011) “The Los Angeles County jail has been identified as the nation’s largest mental institution, housing more individuals with mental illness than state psychiatric hospitals in the area.” (Mowbray, Carol T. & Holter, Mark C. (March 2002). Mental health and mental illness: Out of the closet? [39 pages] Social Service Review. [Online article], quoting Geller, 2000, p.24. Available http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/SSR/journal/issues/v76n1/760107/76-107.text.html) “If violence is the main cause of the stigma, our failure to address it simply ensures that stigma will continue indefinitely.” (Torrey, E. Fuller, 2002. Stigma and Violence. Psychiatric Services 53 (9), p. 1179.) On violence vs. individuals with severe mental illness: “If we choose to avoid all persons with similar odds-ratios for violence, we would have to stay away from teenagers, males and grad school graduates.” (Corrigan, Patrick W., Watson, Amy C., & Ottati, Victor, 2003. From whence comes mental illness stigma? International Journal of Social Psychiatry 49 (2), 142-157, p. 146). Mental illness does not increase a person’s tendency to commit serious violence; in fact, people with serious mental illness are 11 times more likely to be the victims of violence (widely published). “American researchers examined how attitudes of people toward depression, substance abuse and schizophrenia have changed over a 10-year period. The study found that the percentage of people attributing major depression to neurobiological causes rose from 54 percent to 67 percent, and support for seeking treatment increased. However, they found no decrease in stigma or social rejection toward those disorders, and in some cases saw an increase in rejection” (esperanza, Fall 2010, p. 10). Top

Substance Use Disorder & Other Addictions

“People who begin drinking alcohol before the age of 15 are six times more likely than those who start at age 21 and older to develop alcohol problems. Parents and other adults need to be aware that providing alcohol to children can expose them to an increased risk for alcohol abuse and set them on a path with increased potential for addiction,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, February 17, 2011. An estimated 709,000 youths age 12 to 14 currently drink alcohol in the U.S. — many get alcohol from family or home.) Adults experiencing any mental illness in the past year were more than three times as likely to have met the criteria for substance dependence or abuse in that period than those who had not experienced mental illness in the past year (20 percent versus 6.1 percent). Those who had experienced serious mental illness in the past year had even a higher rate of substance dependence or abuse (25.2 percent). (SAMHSA News Release, 1/19/12) In 2003, researchers from the Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction warn that cannabis approximately doubles the risk of schizophrenia and that the risk increases in proportion to the amount of the drug used. The Swedish and Dutch studies also showed that the amount of cannabis used was associated with the risk of schizophrenia. Now a new study from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York has shed light on the reason for the link between marijuana and schizophrenia. They found that heavy use of marijuana caused the type of abnormalities in certain areas of the brain as were found in the brains of the subjects with schizophrenia, and these abnormalities were the most pronounced in schizophrenic subjects who regularly smoked marijuana. (http://www.bmj.com//content/327/7423/1070.4; http://bipolar.about.com/od/relateddisorders/a/schizo_pot.htm) Top

Suicide

Over one million people commit suicide every year. (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/234219.php) About 38,000 Americans die by suicide every year, and 650,000 hospital visits are attributed to suicide attempts. (PSYCHIATRIC NEWS alert – APA February 5, 2014) About 100 Americans die by suicide each day, more than double the average number of homicides. (SAMHSA Wellness Update, June 17, 2013) The World Health Organization estimates that it is the thirteenth-leading cause of death worldwide and the National Safety Council rates it sixth in the United States. It is a leading cause of death among teenagers and adults under 35. (“Suicide,” Retrieved March 6, 2011, from http://wikipedia.org). Each year, approximately 8,000 veterans die by suicide, and several studies place the rate of PTSD in returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan at approximately 40%. Veterans widely experience anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders. (APA Psychiatric News Alert, July 23, 2014) Young women veterans are 2 to 3 times more likely to commit suicide than nonveteran women. (APA 2009: Young Women Veterans at High Risk for Suicide, Medscape Medical News, May 27, 2009, http://www.medscape,com/viewarticle/703424, on two studies presented at the American Psychiatric Association 162nd Annual Meeting). The second leading cause of death in the U.S. for young people ages 15-24 is suicide. (“Facts and Figures,” from http://mentalhealthadvocacycoalition.org, March 2011) (Referencing teens) 90 percent of people who attempt or commit suicide suffer from a mental illness, such as:

  • Depression, which causes a teen to feel sad, lonely, withdrawn, and unable to accomplish simple tasks.
  • Bipolar disorder, where a teen alternates between periods of depression and mania, characterized by exuberance, insomnia, irritability, and inability to concentrate.
  • Schizophrenia, a complicated condition where a teen has hallucinations or distorted perceptions of reality.
  • Alcoholism or drug addiction, especially when combined with another mental health disorder; 20 to 50 percent of suicide attempts are related to drug or alcohol use. (“Teen Suicide Statistics “, from http://teendepression.org. Accessed March 2011)

About 19 percent of young people contemplate or attempt suicide each year. Teens diagnosed with depression are five times more likely to attempt suicide than adults. Four out of every five young people that contemplate or attempt suicide exhibit clear warning signs. (Borchard, Therese J., September 2, 2010, Statistics About College Depression. Retrieved from PSYCHCENTRAL WEBSITE, http://www.psychcentral.com) Top

Treatment & Recovery

The recovery rate for individuals who have received treatment and medication is as follows:

  • Bipolar Disorder: 80 percent
  • Panic Disorder: 70 — 80 percent
  • Major Depression: 65 — 80percent
  • Schizophrenia: 60 percent
  • Addiction: 70 percent (with involvement in a self-help group)

(NIMH, and National Advisory Mental Health Council; cited in Coalition for Healthy Communities.)

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Verifying Mental Health Statistics

Statistics can change over the years. Want to confirm the current accuracy of a mental health statistic? Some of the most reliable sources are the following:

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