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Number of Americans Affected by Mental Illness

  • According to The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) one in four adults-approximately 61.5 million Americans-experiences mental illness in a given year. One in 17-about 13.6 million-live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.
  • Approximately 20 percent of youth ages 13 to 18 experience severe mental disorders in a given year.
  • Approximately 18 percent of American adults-about 42 million people-live with anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder or phobias.
  • About 9.2 million adults have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders.

Getting Mental Health Treatment in America

  • Approximately 60 percent of adults, and almost one-half of youth ages 8 to 15 with a mental illness received no mental health services in the previous year.
  • One half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14; three-quarters by age 24. Despite effective treatment, often there are long delays between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help.

The Impact of Mental Illness in America

  • Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic medical conditions. Adults living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than other Americans, thought to often be from treatable medical conditions.
  • Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. (more common than homicide) and the third leading cause of death for ages 15 to 24 years. More than 90 percent of those who die by suicide had one or more mental disorders.
  • Although military members comprise less than 1 percent of the U.S. population, veterans represent 20 percent of suicides nationally. Each day, about 22 veterans die from suicide.

Getting help

  • It is important to recognize the symptoms and seek professional help if you are concerned that you might be suffering from a mental disorder. Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing. Mental illnesses are treatable and recovery does occur. Assessment and treatment is a very individualized process but in most cases, a combination of psychotherapy and medications is most beneficial. With new research and expanding knowledge, the outlook for positive outcomes continues to improve.


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