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15 Mental Health Facts You Should Know

May 23, 2017

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In an effort to clear up common misconceptions and promote increased awareness, we present 15 important facts about mental health.

Millions of Americans quietly battle mental health issues each year. Mental Health Awareness Month aims to destigmatize this condition by encouraging open conversations as well as developing and implementing effective methods for treatment.

We hope that these 15 facts about mental health will encourage you to discuss these issues with those you care about.

  1. One in five Americans has experienced some form of mental illness, with one in 25 experiencing serious mental illness, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

  2. Suicide accounts for over 800,000 deaths globally each year, with over 41,000 in the U.S. alone. It is the second leading cause of death worldwide for 15-29 year olds.

  3. The rate of mental health disorders doubles for those who have been to war or lived through a major disaster.

  4. People with a mental health issue are generally nonviolent. In fact, only 3-5% of violent acts can be attributed to people with a serious mental illness.

  5. Many factors can lead to mental illness, including genetics, physical illness or injury, and traumatic life experiences.

  6. Many people do not seek treatment for mental illness due to the associated stigma. Only 44% of adults with diagnosable mental illnesses receive treatment.

  7. Treatment for mental health problems doesn’t only consist of prescribed or OTC medication. Therapy, yoga, meditation and holistic treatments can all help to assuage symptoms.

  8. By addressing risk factors such as trauma, it is possible to prevent certain mental health disorders, especially in children and adolescents.

  9. Improving mental health services in low- to medium-income countries is not as costly as some may think. An investment of only $2-4 per capita would have a major impact on millions of lives.

  10. Each year, serious mental illnesses cost the U.S. almost $200 billion in lost earnings.

  11. 50.5% of adults in the U.S. who have had a problem with substance abuse also suffer from mental illness.

  12. 20% of youth have a mental health condition, with one in 10 young people having experienced a period of major depression.

  13. Members of the LGBTQ community are twice as likely as straight individuals to have a mental health condition.

  14. 70-90% of people who seek proper treatment for mental health disorders witness a significant reduction in symptoms.

  15. Last but not least: most people living with mental illness lead productive lives despite their challenges.