Mental Health Facts

33 Mental Health Facts & Statistics

Like any other health concern, looking after our mental health is an essential aspect of our well-being. With recent developments both globally and country-wise, a decent amount of mental illness concerns are tackled daily. Below, the mental health facts highlight some of the important aspects of mental health, from raising awareness, stamping out stigma, and progress toward treatment and improvement. 

Mental health affects the general state of health of the world and impacts our quality of life and that of those around us. Further, amongst the impact of covid19, we’ve seen an increase in people suffering from mental health issues as circumstance has kept us away from friends, family, and support. Alongside our facts below, our list of mental health quotes highlight the importance of raising awareness, growing understanding and empathy, and supporting those who have a mental illness. 

Mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, personality disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, and other types of conditions affect millions of people globally.  

Mental health facts about the scale of mental illness and mental disorders

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Mental health in America

#1 - Nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness4

Mental illnesses ranging from mild, moderate, and severe are part of any mental illness (AMI) and serious mental illness (SMI). One in five U.S. adults falls under these groups.

#2 - 9.7% of youth in the U.S. suffer severe major depression1

This percentage has increased from last year's 9.2% and shows that youth mental health is getting worse. If this continues and little changes, the rate will climb to 12.2% in the next five years.

#3 - In 2017-2018, 19% of U.S. adults experienced a mental illness1

#4 - In 2019, an estimated 51.5 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States with a mental illness4

Adults with mental illness at this time either suffered a behavioral or emotional disorder. And it's prevalence is also found to be more common among young adults than older adults.

The increase in the rate of individuals under this age bracket is alarming since it dominates with 20.6% of all adult Americans with any mental illness and those with serious mental illness is still a substantial amount.

#5 - 24.5% of females in the U.S. in 2019 suffered a mental illness4

#6 - 16.3% of males in the U.S. in 2019 suffered a mental illness4

Mental illness is more prevalent among females than males. This figure is higher than the males and will only increase unless attention changes from morbidity to gender-specific determinants and mechanisms that protect mental health.

Statistics for men show that mental illness will increase if not taken care of, especially since substance use disorder, alcohol, and drug use disorder are more prevalent in men.

Mental health globally

#7 - In 2017, an estimated 10.7% of the world's population suffered from at least one mental illness2

Globally, this comes in different forms, from serious mental illness including depression, bipolar and eating disorders, borderline personality disorder, and schizophrenia. Other people may suffer from anxiety or less severe forms of depression. Adults experience bipolar disorder at some stage in their lives at a rate of 1 in every 100. The presence of these disorders everywhere globally makes it an essential focus for global health to improve support, behavioral health statistics, and mental health treatment. Globally, the aim for good mental health across the general population and reducing the rate at which mental illness increases remains a challenge. Furthermore, each diagnosable mental health condition recorded does not report the impacts on carers and support networks of those suffering. 

#8 - In 2017, an estimated 3.4% of the world's population suffered from depression2

Depressive disorders are higher in individuals aged 70 years and above and can be broken into mild and major disorders. They both have their unique symptoms and also share similar symptoms like loss of concentration, attention, self-confidence, ideas of self-guilt, and acts of self-harm. Major depression also has a higher median estimate of prevalence in females than males.

#9 - In 2017, an estimated 3.8% of the world's population suffered from anxiety disorders2

Anxiety disorder is the most prevalent mental health disorder in the world. Globally, 284 million people are estimated to suffer from anxiety. This differs from between 2.5% and 7%  in each country across the globe. 

#10 - In 2017, an estimated 13% of people worldwide had mental health or substance use disorders2

About 4% of the population who suffered mental health conditions or substance abuse disorders in 2017 had an anxiety disorder. According to meta-analysis, high-income countries record a high percentage of suicide deaths that result from underlying mental or substance use disorders than low-income countries.

#11 - In countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence, it is estimated that one in five people are afflicted with mental ill-health3

The mental health facts show that when people find themselves in an environment of constant crisis, conflict, violence, serious mental illness, anxiety disorders, and other mental health conditions, they impact a larger percentage of the population. Furthermore, mental health problems affect children and adolescents of countries experiencing conflict more because of their inability to handle such situations. 

#12 - In Afghanistan, more than 2.2 million people received mental health services in 20183

This shows a high level of improvement compared to half a million people who received mental health services in 2009. If this continues and more work is done, we might see the figure tripling by 2027.

Photo by Adib Hussain on Unsplash

#13 - It is estimated that 20% of children and adolescents experience some form of mental disorder3

Countries with inadequate child care systems experience more of this. Children do not have the mental capacity to handle most of the physical causes of mental disorders. These mental health issues can regularly be traced to family history.  

#14 - 1 in 6 U.S. children aged 2–8 years had a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder5

#15 - 7.4% of children aged 3-17 years in the U.S. have a diagnosed behavior problem5

Apart from a natural cause or hereditary cause, mental or behavioral disorders at this age bracket are due to many risk factors like physical environmental factors, poor parenting, and life experiences like trauma.

The behavioral problem majorly associated with older children is major depression and anxiety.

#16 - 9.4% of children aged 2-17 years in the U.S. have received an ADHD diagnosis5

Boys in this age bracket tend to have received a diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) more than girls with 12.9%. 6 in 10 children with ADHD also had at least one other mental or behavioral disorder

#17 - 7.1% of children aged 3-17 years in the U.S. have been diagnosed with anxiety5

#18 - 3.2% of children aged 3-17 years in the U.S. have been diagnosed with depression5

#19 - About 3 in 4 children aged 3-17 years in the U.S. with depression also have anxiety5

#20 - For children aged 3-17 years in the U.S. with anxiety, more than 37.9% also have behavior problems5

The anxiousness that comes with changing environment, school, and making new friends tends to be strong for children at this age and often reflects in the child's behavior. Whereas an uncontrolled feeling of anxiety definitely affects the behavior and thoughts of a child. The child tends to exhibit behaviors like lack of concentration, a quick temper, outbursts, tense, and fidgety. Behavioral disorders like social withdrawal, anger, increased sensitivity, rejection, and continuous feeling of sadness often come with depression.

Facts about the impacts of mental health issues and serious mental illness 

Disease burden

#21 - Mental illness accounts for 30% of the non-fatal disease burden3

#22 - Mental illness accounts for 10% of the overall disease burden worldwide, including death and disability3

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental illness makes up 10% of the overall disease burden globally, including disability and death. By 2030 if no work is done and the lifetime prevalence of mental illness remains underestimated and undertreated, this figure is expected to double. 

Suicide, most often related to mental illness, is the second leading cause of death worldwide for young adults aged 15-29.

#23 - Childhood behavioral disorders are the second leading cause of disease burden in young adolescents aged 10-146

Countries with chronic conflict and violence reports dominate this percentage. This percentage increases with respect to an increase in the population of these countries. 

An estimated  10-20% of young children and adolescents in the world experience one mental health condition or the other. These can include mood disorders through to more severe psychotic disorders.  This population remains undertreated and underdiagnosed. These children develop social and emotional habits at this stage, and it is essential and crucial to the mental well-being of adolescents that they engage in healthy habits. We seek to ensure their psychological well-being. Physical, social, and emotional changes like violence, abuse, exposure to poverty increase the chances of mental health problems in an adolescent.

#24 - Childhood behavioral disorders are the eleventh leading cause of disease burden among older adolescents aged 15-19 years6

These behavior disorders include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and conduct disorder.

Economic impacts of mental illness

#25 - The global economy loses about $1 trillion every year in productivity due to depression and anxiety alone3

An estimate of 264 million people suffers from depression, one of the leading causes of disability, with many of these people also suffering from anxiety. 75% of this population has received no mental health treatment at all.

#26 - Mental, neurological, and substance abuse disorders are estimated to contribute to economic output losses of $2.5-8.5 trillion globally3

This figure is expected to be nearly double by 2030 if there is no strong response

Mental health treatment facts

#27 - In 2019, 44.8% of people with mental illnesses in the U.S. received mental health services in the past year4

This is nearly half, but it is decent progress when compared to the figure in the previous year’s indication of the progress being made to reduce mental health indicators and step up mental illness treatment.


#28 - In 2019, 49.7% of females with mental illnesses in the U.S. received mental health services in the past year4

#29 - In 2019, 36.8% of males with mental illnesses in the U.S. received mental health services in the past year4

This is higher than the male percentage and further proves the higher prevalence of AMI among females at 24.5% than males at 16.3%. This is a significant improvement compared to previous years in the U.S. With more work done, there will be further improvement in 5 to 10 years.

Adults with mental illness

#30 - 45.4% of adults aged 26-49 years with mental illnesses in the U.S. in 2019 received mental health services4

Mental health issues are common among this age group, especially post-traumatic stress disorder. It is a higher percentage than those in the 18-25 years range. Treatments, counseling, and prescription medications were also given to this group. 

#31 - 47.2% of adults aged 50 years and above with mental illnesses in the U.S. in 2019 received mental health services4

Considering the amount of Adult Americans suffering from mental health conditions, 47.2% did receive treatment in 2019, leaving the remaining percentage untreated.

Young Adults

#32 - 38.9% of young adults aged 18-25 years with mental illnesses in the U.S. in 2019 received mental health services4

This shows that young American adults with diagnosable mental health problems did receive inpatient treatment/counseling or outpatient treatment/counseling, or having used prescription medication for problems with emotions, nerves, or mental health.

Preventative mental health initiatives

#33 - In a province in Pakistan, over 100 small business entrepreneurs received five weeks of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy training3

Participants of this training experienced a high reduction in depression and anxiety symptoms than the group of entrepreneurs who did not participate.

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Pin Image Portrait Mental Health Facts & Statistics
4 National Institute of Mental Health Mental Illness
1 Mental Health America (MHA), 2021. The State Of Mental Health In America
2 Our World in Data. by Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser. First published 2018. Mental Health
3 Global Mental Health : Some Perspectives on Challenges and Options for Scaling Up Response (English). WBG Global Mental Health Initiative Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.
5 Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Data and Statistics on Children's Mental Health
6 World Health Organisation, September 2020 Adolescent mental health

Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.

Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.

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