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Aware that something doesn't feel right? Many others have that same feeling.

How Many People Are Affected?  Mental health conditions are more common than you might think 

-- An estimated 26 percent of American adults – about 1 in 4 – suffer from a diagnosable mental health condition in a given year.

-- Nearly half of those (45 percent) have more than one mental health condition, and six percent have conditions that are severe and disabling.

-- The most common mental health conditions among American adults in any given year are:

  • major depression:6.7 percent
  • bipolar disorder: 2.6 percent
  • generalized anxiety disorder: 3.1 percent
  • schizophrenia: 1.1 percent
  • attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: 4.1 percent
  • obsessive compulsive disorder: 2.2 percent
  • post traumatic stress disorder: 3.5 percent
  • social/specific phobias: 7 percent and 9 percent, respectively
  • substance use disorder: 4 percent


Mental Health conditions are a leading cause of disability worldwide

  • Major depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and developed countries worldwide.
  • Four of the 10 leading causes of disability in the U.S. and other developed countries are mental health conditions – major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Untreated mental health conditions can become more severe disorders that are harder to treat, and may lead to the development of other, co-occurring mental health conditions. For example, untreated attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) commonly leads to depression.

Gender affects the prevalence of some mental health conditions

  • Boys and girls are equally likely to develop a mood disorder such as major depression or bipolar disorder before puberty, but by age 15, girls are twice as likely as boys to have experienced a depressive episode.
  • Boys are two to three times more likely than girls to be affected by ADHD in childhood.
  • Men are twice as likely as women to have any drug use disorder (13.8 percent versus 7.1 percent).
  • Overall, nearly twice as many women as men are affected by major depression. However, men and women are at equal risk of developing bipolar disorder.
  • Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from most anxiety disorders including panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, and specific phobia.
  • Four times as many men as women die by suicide; however, women attempt suicide 2-3 times as often as men.

Mental health conditions often begin in childhood and persist into adulthood

  • In the U.S. today, one in ten children suffer from a mental health condition.
  • Half of all lifetime cases of mental health conditions begin by age 14; 75 percent of cases begin by age 24.
  • Between 30 and 70 percent of children with ADHD continue to exhibit symptoms into adulthood.

Evidence suggests that there is a relationship between starting drugs or alcohol at a younger age and having a substance use disorder as an adult

  • Adults who first tried alcohol before age 21 were more likely than adults who first tried alcohol at age 21 or older to be classified with alcohol dependence or abuse in 2007 (9.6 vs. 2.2 percent).
  • In 2007, almost 16% of adults who first tried alcohol at age 14 or younger were classified with alcohol dependence or abuse, while less than 4% of adults who first tried alcohol at or after age 18 were classified with alcohol dependence or abuse.
  • In 2007, almost 13% of adults who first tried marijuana at or before age 14 were classified with drug dependence or abuse, while less than 3% of adults who first tried marijuana at or after age 18 were classified with drug dependence or abuse.

Suicide is often tied to mental health conditions and is a leading cause of untimely death in young people as well as in adults over 65 year of age:

  • More than 90 percent of people who take their own lives have a diagnosable mental health condition.
  • In 2004, suicide was the third leading cause of death among 10-24 year olds.
  • Older Americans are at a disproportionately high risk of death by suicide. Despite comprising 12 percent of the U.S. population, people age 65 and older account for 16 percent of suicide deaths.
  • Within the elderly population, non-Hispanic white men age 85 and older have the highest incidence of death by suicide.


U.S. National Institute of Mental Health

U.S. Surgeon General

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration). 2004. Results from the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings. DHHS Publication Number SMA 04-2964. NSDUH Series H-25. Rockville, MD:

SAMHSA Conway KP, Compton W, Stinson FS, Grant BF. Lifetime co-morbidity of DSM-IV mood and anxiety disorders and specific drug use disorders: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 2006; 67:247-257