8 Quick Facts About Mental Health

1. The World Health Organization defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual:

Realizes his or her own potential,

• Can cope with the normal stresses of life,

• Can work productively and fruitfully, and

• Is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

For even the average American, constantly maintaining good “mental health” can be quite difficult.

2. In any given year, 43.8 million adults experience some type of mental illness.

In America, approximately 10 million adults live with a serious mental illness.

3. Mental illnesses affect people from all walks of life. The prevalence of adults living with mental illnesses ranges from 13.9% among Asian American adults to 28.3% among American Indian adults.

Multicultural communities face many additional issues when it comes to mental illnesses. They are less likely to access or retrieve treatment, they often receive a lower quality of care, and frequently face high levels of stigma or cultural insensitivity.

4. Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental illnesses in America, affecting about 42 million adults or about 18%.

In America, major depression affects 16 million adults or nearly 7%, bipolar disorder affects 6.1 million (2.6%), and schizophrenia affects 2.4 million, or every 1 in 100 adults.

5. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that in 2014 nearly 8 million people suffered from both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder.

Rates of comorbidity (the two disorders co-occurring) were the highest among adults between the ages of 26 to 49, affecting nearly 43% of people within this age range.

6. Having a serious mental illness increases the risk of developing chronic medical conditions.

American adults with serious mental illnesses live 25 years fewer on average.  This huge disparity is sadly due in large part to treatable medical conditions.

7. In the US, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death overall.  Among adolescents and young adults ages 10-24, it is the 3rd leading cause of death, and it is the 2nd leading cause of death among young adults ages 15-24.

Of children who die by suicide, over 90% suffered from a mental health condition.  Every day, between 18 to 22 veterans lose their life to suicide.

8. Individuals in the criminal justice system often struggle with mental illnesses as well.

About 20% of state and local prisoners have a mental health condition.  70% of youths in the juvenile justice system have a mental health condition, and for over 20% of these youths their mental illness is serious.






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