Wide-Spread Impact of Mental Health

Millions of people in the U.S.—both adults and children—suffer from a severe mental disorders. These can include major anxiety and depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, personality disorder, phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other mental health conditions. The statistics are staggering.

  • About 1 in 5 adults—or 43.8 million people—is diagnosed with a mental health condition.
  • Half of mental illness symptoms begin by age 14 and three-quarters surface by age 24.
  • An estimated 21.4% of teenagers and 13% of children aged 8-15 experience a mental disorder at some point in their lives.

Impact on Life & Health

  • Nearly 10 million adults have a serious mental illness that significantly impacts major life activities, such as maintaining a job and home. Serious mental illness costs just over $193 billion in lost earnings each year.
  • An estimated 26% of homeless adults living in shelters have a mental illness.
  • About 60% of adults and 50% of children (aged 8-15) with a mental illness didn’t receive treatment in the past year.
  • On average, adults living with a mental illness die 25 years earlier than others, often due to treatable medical conditions.
  • Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization for both children and adults.
  • Mentally ill people are 10 times more likely to be victims of crime than the general population.

Impact on Substance Abuse

  • Half of adults with a mental health condition also have a substance abuse problem, commonly referred to as a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis.
  • Nearly 21 million people struggle with addiction, but only 10% receive treatment.
  • Someone dies every 19 minutes from an opioid or heroin overdose.
  • Overdose deaths in Indiana cost $1.4 billion each year in health care costs and lost earnings.
  • Indiana spends $64 million each year treating infants born addicted to opioids.
  • Hoosiers are more likely to die from an overdose than from a car accident.
  • 55% of Indiana jail inmates suffer from a substance abuse disorder.

Impact on Jails & Prisons

  • An estimated 20% of people serving jail time have a serious mental illness. That’s about 2 million people or a little more than the entire population of the state of New Mexico.
  • People with mental illness tend to spend more time in jail and have a higher rate of returning to jail (recidivism), often due to lack of mental health services, lack of health insurance, and lack of understanding of jail rules, which can cause infractions.
  • On any given day, just one of our nation’s largest jails (Los Angeles, Chicago, New York) hold more mentally ill people than any state psychiatric hospital.
  • Suicide is the leading cause of inmate death, and nearly half of those are committed by an inmate with mental illness.

For more information, check out our list of online national resources.

Sources: Indiana University/Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, MentalHealth.gov, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Council for Behavioral Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Treatment Advocacy Center, U.S. Surgeon General, World Health Organization.