Mental illness and adults
- In 2015, there were an estimated 43.4 million adults - about one in five American aged 18 or older - with a mental illness within the previous year.
- In 2015, there were an estimated 9.8 million adults - about one in 25 Americans aged 18 or older - with serious mental illness. "Serious mental illness" is defined as individuals experiencing within the past year a mental illness or disorder with serious functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
Mental illness and children and teens
- Just over 20% - or one in five - children have had a seriously debilitating mental disorder.
- Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14 and three-quarters begin by age 24.
- Number of visits to physician offices with mental disorders as the primary diagnosis: 65.9 million
- In 2015, 75% of children aged four to 17 received treatment for their mental disorders within the past year.
Impact of mental illness
- Suicide, which is often associated with symptoms of mental illness, is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the second leading cause of death among people aged 15-34.
- Serious mental illness costs in the United States amount to $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.
- Mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the United States for both youth and adults aged 18 to 44.
- Individuals living with serious mental illness fact an increased risk of physical health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus, the virus that causes AIDS).
- U.S. adults living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than others, largely due to treatable medical conditions.
Mental health promotion and prevention
Preventing mental illness and promoting good mental health involves actions to create living conditions and environments that support mental health and allow people to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles. These include a range of actions to increase the chances of more people experiencing better mental health, such as
- Early childhood interventions (for example, home visits for pregnant women and programs that help young children build social and emotional skills).
- Social support for elderly persons.
- Programs targeting for people affected by disasters or other traumatic events.
- Mental health interventions at work (for example, stress prevention programs).
- Violence prevention strategies (for example, reducing violence in the community and at home).
- Campaigns to change the culture of mental health so that all of those in need receive the care and support they deserve.
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- Health & Education Statistics. Bethesda, MD: National Institute of Mental Health. National Institutes of Health. 2016.
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- Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2015.
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- HCUP Facts and Figures: Statistics on Hospital-based Care in the United States, 2009. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 2009.
- Reeves, WC et al. CDC Report: Mental Illness Surveillance Among Adults in the United States. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2011;60(03);1-32.
- Parks, J., et al. Morbidity and Mortality in People with Serious Mental Illness. Alexandria, VA: National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors Council. 2006.
- Strengthening Mental Health Promotion. Fact sheet no. 220. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.
Content last updated January 26, 2018