45 Surprising Mental Illness Statistics


One stigma that is resilient in our society is the reaction that occurs when encountering a mental illness. Instead of being viewed as “sick,” many with a mental illness are viewed as “weak” instead. There is a perception that an individual has control over their mental health. This simply isn’t true.

Some mental illnesses have genetic or family ties. Others may occur spontaneously or develop under specific social or physical circumstances. It is fairly common for an individual who is suffering from a chronic or life-threatening illness to develop a mental illness at the same time.

By understanding these mental illness statistics, we can begin to remove the negative stigmas that society has placed on this health issue. That way more people can potentially receive the treatment they need to return to a happy life.

Statistics About Mental Illness

1. About 20% of US adults, or more than 43 million people, will experience a mental illness in the next 12 months. (NAMI)

2. About 1 in 25 adults will experience a serious mental health issue in the next 12 months that interferes with one or more major life activity. That’s about 4% of the total US population. (NAMI)

3. More than 21% of youth in the 13-18 age demographic will experience at least one severe mental disorder during their life. For children in the 8-15 age demographic, the risk estimate is 13%. (NAMI)

4. The rates of youth depression are rising quickly. In 2011, 8.5% of youth experienced at least once incident of depression over the course of 12 months. In 2014, 11.1% of youth experienced the same mental illness. (Mental Health America)

5. Even when severe depression is included in the statistics, 4 out of 5 youth will not receive adequate treatment help with their mental illness. (Mental Health America)

6. 56% of American adults who have a mental illness did not receive any treatment for it in the last year. (Mental Health America)

7. Vermont is considered to be the state with the most mental illness treatment access options in the United States. Even there, 43% of adults with a mental illness did not receive any treatment in the last year. (Mental Health America)

8. 1.1% of adults in the United States are currently living with schizophrenia. (NAMI)

9. 2.6% of adults in the United States live with bipolar disorder. (NAMI)

10. About 7% of adults in the US had at least 1 major depressive episode in the past 12 months. (NAMI)

11. About 1 in 5 US adults experiences an anxiety disorder, such as PTSD, OCD, or a specific phobia. (NAMI)

12. 50.5% of adults in the US who experience a substance use disorder are also suffering from a co-occurring mental illness. (NAMI)

13. In 2015, women were 1.5 times more likely to experience a serious mental illness among US adults compared to men. (NIMH)

14. US adults between the ages of 18-49 are twice as likely to experience a serious mental illness over the next 12 months compared to adults who are above the age of 50. (NIMH)

15. People of a mixed race or heritage are 2 times more likely than Whites/Caucasians to experience a serious mental illness in the United States. They are also 4 times more likely than Hispanic or African-American/Black adults and 7.5 times more likely than Asians to suffer from a serious mental illness. (NIMH)

16. The lifetime prevalence of a generalized anxiety disorder in US children in the 13-18 age demographic is 1%. The prevalence of a severe disorder in this age group is 0.4%. This includes all races. (NIMH)

17. Girls are twice as likely compared to boys when they reach their teenage years to experience at least one incident of a generalized anxiety disorder during their lifetime. (NIMH)

18. 1 in 4 homeless adults who are staying in shelters are living with a serious mental illness. 46% of them live with either a severe mental illness or a substance use disorder. (NAMI)

19. About 1 in 5 state prisoners and local jail prisoners have a recent history of mental health conditions or symptoms. (NAMI)

20. 70% of youth who are in the US juvenile justice system have at least one mental health condition. About 1 in 5 of these youth have a serious mental illness. (NAMI)

21. African-Americans/Blacks and Hispanics use mental health services at a rate that is 50% lower than the rate of Caucasians/Whites over the past 12 months. They access these services at about one-third of the rate of Asian-Americans as well. (NAMI)

22. 50% of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14. 75% of chronic mental illnesses start by the age of 24. (NAMI)

23. Despite effective treatment options, delays that are 10+ years in length occur between the first appearance of symptoms and when people eventually seek help. This results in a cost of $193 billion in lost earnings in the US every year. (NAMI)

24. The prevalence of PTSD in the US adult population is 3.5%. More than 1 out of every 3 PTSD cases that is diagnosed is considered to be a severe case. (NIMH)

25. The average age of onset for PTSD is 23. (NIMH)

26. Although the median age of PTSD is below the age of 30, just 6.3% of the US population in the 18-29 age demographic will experience an issue with this mental illness. In comparison, the lifetime prevalence rate for those in the 30-44 age demographic is 8.2% and for those in the 45-59 age demographic, it is 9.2%. (NIMH)

27. 4% of children who are 13 or older will experience at least once incident with PTSD during their life. (NIMH)

28. In the US, healthcare reforms have reduced the rates of uninsured adults with mental health conditions, but 19% remained uninsured in states that did not expand Medicaid and 13% remained uninsured in states that did expand Medicaid. (Mental Health America)

29. In states with the lowest workforce levels, there is only 1 mental health professional for every 1,000 individuals. This includes psychologists, social workers, counselors, psychiatric nurses, and psychiatrists combined. (Mental Health America)

30. Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama have the highest rates of imprisonment and the lowest levels of access to mental illness care. (Mental Health America)

31. There are more than 57,000 people with mental health conditions in prisons or jail in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama. (Mental Health America)

32. Mood disorders, including major depression, bipolar disorder, and dysthymic disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization for US adults in the 18-44 age demographic. (NAMI)

33. Adults living in the US living with a mental illness will die an average of 25 years earlier than the general population, despite the fact that they have treatable medical conditions. (NAMI)

34. 37% of students with a mental health condition and are served by a special education service will drop out of school. It is the highest dropout rate of any disability group. (NAMI)

35. 9 out of 10 children who die because of suicide have a mental illness or mental health condition. (NAMI)

36. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US, but it is the third leading cause of death for those in the 10-24 age demographic. It’s the second leading cause of death for people aged 15-24. (NAMI)

37. Every day, an estimated 20 veterans die by suicide in the US. (NAMI)

38. Over the next 12 months, 6.8% of US adults will experience at least one incident of a social phobia. About 30% of these cases are classified as a severe social phobia. (NIMH)

39. 9% of US teens will experience an issue with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Boys are almost 3 times more likely to experience ADHD compared to girls. Only about 2% of ADHD diagnoses are considered to be severe. (NIMH)

40. About 4% of US adults suffer from ADHD over the course of any given year. 1 in 4 cases of adult ADHD is considered to be severe. (NIMH)

41. For adults who are diagnosed with ADHD, the average age-of-onset for their symptoms was 7. (NIMH)

42. About 10% of US adults will experience a mood disorder over the next 12 months. US adults have a 20.8% lifetime prevalence of experience a mood disorder at least once. (NIMH)

43. 45% of the mood disorders that are diagnosed are considered to be severe. Just 50.9% of those with a mood disorder receive treatment and only 1 in 3 people receive treatments that are considered to be “minimally adequate.” (NIMH)

44. About 5% of children will also suffer from a mood disorder in the next 12 months. Teens who are 17- to 18-years-old are twice as likely to suffer from a mood disorder compared to teens who are 13- to 14-years-old. (NIMH)

45. 82.9% of the cases of bipolar disorder that are diagnosed in the US are classified as severe. Only 1 in 3 with bipolar disorder are receiving minimally adequate treatment. (NIMH)

These mental illness statistics show that the time for negative stigmas must end. Without appropriate treatment, there are higher risks for job loss, co-existing substance use disorders, and a potentially much lower average life span. By acting now and encouraging treatment, people can begin to get the help they need.