Look around you. If you’re in a room full of people, just know that the odds are that one in five of the people in front of you suffer from some form of mental illness in any given year. When you do the math, the numbers get big quickly.
So, what kind of mental illness are we typically surrounded by? Keep in mind, mental illness isn’t necessarily a constant state. This means that people can go in and out of a mood disorder like depression or bipolar disorder. Also, mental illness is often seen as a continuum, so a person can suffer from depressive symptoms all the way to treatment resistant suicidal depression.
Mental Illness By The Numbers
According to NAMI (National Association of Mental Illness) nearly 20% of our population suffers from some type of mental illness at any point in the year. Many of these people simple “limp” along in their lives suffering quietly while roughly 10 million people a year suffer from their illness to the point of interfering with one or more major life activities. And, young people are not exempt. The numbers that NAMI gives state that just over 20% of kids ages 13-18 experience a severe mental disorder at some point in their life an for ages 8-15 it’s just over 13%.
What Kinds Of Mental Illnesses Are Prevalent?
There are many different types of mental disorders and again, most range in severity. The numbers from NAMI state that a little over 1% of the population suffers from schizophrenia which is incredibly debilitating without proper medications.
There are several different types of bipolar disorders that mostly have to do with how quickly a person’s mood cycles from up or manic to severely down or depressed. Nearly 3% of the population lives with this mood disorder. That’s over 10 million people!
Depression is the most commonly known form of mental illness and affects nearly 7 million people a year. This means that more than 16 million people a year suffer from at least one depressive episode. Keep in mind, there is such a thing as situational depression which is a normal reaction to a tragic event. Over time, situational depression can lead to a deeper depression in theory, but there is significant controversy about how and why people become depressed.
With the prolong wars American has been involved in, the numbers of people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. This mental illness falls into the category of anxiety disorders which can also include obsessive compulsive disorders, generalized anxiety disorders or phobias. Over 18% of our population suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder and these numbers are expected to rise.
And, of course, we can’t forget about the number of people that suffer from some sort of substance abuse disorder. This can also include an entire separate category of behavioral addictions such as gambling, sex, etc. Clearly, we are in the middle of one of the largest opioid epidemics this country has ever seen. More than 20 million adults struggle with substance abuse and more than half of those people also have another mental illness such as depression, etc.
Keep in mind, whenever you’re reading about the prevalence of mental illness in our country, there is always a risk of under-reporting. Many of us don’t want to admit that we have something “wrong” with us- to ourselves as well as to others. This means that any numbers we come up with are most likely less than what actually exists.
What Do The Numbers Mean?
The other conclusion a person can easily reach when looking at the number of people suffering from mental illness is that we don’t have enough resources to help everyone. This is why we see more and more people with mental disorders living on the streets or in homeless shelters. Our jails and prisons are loaded with people who have been incarcerated as a result of their mental illness. And, only 40% of adults with mental problems receive any form of treatment or care.
The ethnicity of people that access what little mental health resources we have are divided as well. Clearly, most of the people that utilize the resources out there are white whereas African American and Hispanics tend to use treatment resources at about half the rate Caucasians do.
It’s hard to calculate, but experts put the cost of mental illness to our society at about $200 billion in lost earnings a year. With military veterans alone, the suicide rate is roughly 20 vets a day. What mental illness costs our society is staggering.
At Beautiful Mind, we simply want to do our part. We want to create a place where women can work on their recovery. It’s time to end the madness. Call us today.