24+ Mental Health Statistics You Should Know (2020)

Last modified: October 11, 2020

Mental health has become a rising concern in developed nations. Learn the latest statistics and facts about mental health and how we can improve our well-being.

For many years, people disregarded the importance of mental health by failing to acknowledge warning signs, refusing to seek treatment, and making fun of others who claimed to be suffering from a mental health condition. Luckily, human society changed with time. Although some resistance remains, mental health is now well-regarded, respected and professionally-treated worldwide.

This article will outline a series of mental health statistics and facts, to ensure that readers are well-educated and able to understand how mental health works. The secondary purpose of this statistics piece is to help give a general perspective on the topic, helping readers understand more about how widespread these conditions are, the existing treatment options, alongside the incidence of mental illnesses amongst the elderly, adults, college students, and teens. Mental illness rates are becoming higher, therefore comprehensive study on the matter is required.

To kick things off, mental health is a concept that generally refers to human cognitive and emotional behavior. It has direct implications on how people feel, behave, and think. In medical terms, the concept refers to the lack of a mental disorder that would cause a person to behave differently. The main advantage associated with taking care of your mental health is the capability of achieving emotional well-being, self-acceptance, self-love, and integration in society. As our mental health statistics will later point out, people who are mentally healthy, generally face no issues when it comes down to balancing work, relationships, and emotions. Similarly, good mental health implies that an individual is well-aware of their abilities, and can cope with the daily stress that life brings.

As such, being free from a mental disorder does not entail that an individual is in perfect mental health. To find out more about the issue, take a glance at the most important stats down below.

 

Most Fascinating Mental Health Statistics and Facts (2020)

  • 450 million people currently suffer from a mental illness, according to a report published by the World Health Organization.
  • 1 in 4 Americans currently suffers from at least one mental illness.
  • 80% of people suffering from a schizophrenic disorder can reduce symptoms and the possibility of relapses, via medical help, therapy, and family assistance.
  • Around 9.5% of US citizens above 18 years old encounter a depressive illness every year.
  • In the UK, 1 in 3 college students has dealt with a serious psychological issue. Similarly, 1 in 5 teens suffer from a mental illness, yet many avoid seeking help.

How Many People Suffer From Mental Illness?

1. According to the World Health Organization, 450 million people currently suffer from a mental illness

In other words, roughly 1 in 4 people will deal with a mental health issue or neurological disorder during their lifespan — hence why it is essential for people to avoid neglecting their mental health.

Failure to recognize the warning signs and to seek treatment (either in the form of therapy or medication), generally leads to worsening symptoms and a considerably lower quality of life for those who are affected, according to mental illness statistics. The same study has also concluded that these numbers are steadily growing.

2. According to the Hopkins Medicine Centre, 1 in 4 Americans suffer from a mental illness

The statistics for the US concur with the rest of the world. Closer research has estimated that 26% of US residents aged 18 and older suffer from a mental condition worth diagnosing.

Mental Illness Statistics

3. The WHO estimates that two-thirds of individuals suffering from mental illness choose to avoid seeking help for their condition

Reports indicate that this choice is generally based on a couple of factors, including but not limited to the stigma that is still associated with mental health, lack of education, and expensive healthcare costs. For many, the conditions are debilitating enough that seeking medical care is highly-difficult, according to mental disorder stats.

4. The WHO is currently carrying out several programs meant to encourage governments to increase mental health awareness

According to recent trends, people have become more accepting of mental conditions, reducing the negative stigma in the process. Despite this, many people continue to fear to share their condition with others. In turn, this further promotes neglect and general lack of understanding regarding mental health, according to mental health statistics.

5.  Over 40% of countries lack a mental health policy, whereas 30% have no program regarding mental health

To make matters worse, it is estimated that around 25% of countries do not even mention mental health in their legislation. As such, there is no law that looks over people suffering from a mental illness. This lack of recognition is directly responsible for the exponential decrease in the mental health graph worldwide.

6. Studies show that more than 80% of people suffering from a schizophrenic disorder can reduce symptoms and the possibility of relapses, if medical treatment, alongside family intervention, are offered

Schizophrenia is generally regarded as an extremely scary mental illness. However, not many people are aware that medical treatment with antipsychotic drugs and family help can eliminate relapses in the future. Therefore, mental illness percentages, in this case, can be drastically reduced if all people showcasing symptoms would seek healthcare.

7. Antidepressants coupled with psychotherapy can help up to 60% of people suffering from depressive disorders to recover

During the last couple of years, depression has become more widespread. There is no sure-fire way to cure the condition, yet therapy and antidepressants can do wonders, as this statistic points out. Unfortunately, millions of people continue to suffer in silence, due to the fear of being judged for the way they feel. This is especially the case for younger adults, as teen mental health statistics point out.

8. Seizures can be eliminated in 70% of people suffering from epilepsy 

Similarly, epilepsy-caused seizures can be easily eliminated if affected individuals start anticonvulsant-based therapy. Drugs, in this case, are generally cheap and easy to come by, so solutions definitely exist.

9. Mental illnesses are one of the leading causes of disability and disease worldwide

It is estimated that depression represents the fourth leading cause associated with the worldwide disease burden, according to mental health statistics. If things do not change in the near future, they will reach the second spot by 2020, right after heart disease.

10. The prevalence of mental disorders is also linked to a general lack of funding

33% of countries choose to fund mental healthcare with less than 1% of total health system funding. 33% of other countries spend just 1% of their healthcare budgets on mental care. The remaining percentage comes from countries which have released no data regarding mental care budgets, and countries which do not allocate any capital towards this category.

Mental Health in the United States

11. In the US, mental health conditions are some of the most frequent causes of disability 

A report by the Hopkins medical center outlines that mental conditions are often the leading causes of disability, especially in developed countries. Some of the main conditions worth pointing out include major depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and manic depression. It has also been reported that the percentage of Americans with mental illness is steadily growing.

12. Most of the times, US individuals with mental health problems suffer from at least two conditions

A relevant example, in this case, is that of a depressive illness, since most of the time, the condition also comes along with anxiety disorder alongside substance abuse.

13. Roughly 9.5% of US citizens above 18 years old will encounter a depressive illness every year

These illnesses include major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder. Luckily, in most of these cases, the conditions are diagnosed early, thus therapy and medication can be prescribed to ensure a quick and smooth recovery, as mental health statistics in the US point out.

14. US women are two times more likely to suffer from depression when compared to men

Studies reveal the gender of a person also determines the likelihood of developing a depressive disorder. The same study outlines that bipolar disorder is an incident in similar numbers for both men and women.

15. Most Americans who have committed suicide were suffering from a mental disorder

Suicide tendencies are more prevalent in people who suffer from a substance abuse disorder, or from depression. Speaking of suicide, mental health in the United States statistics indicates that men commit four times more suicides when compared to women. On the other hand, women attempt to commit suicide a lot more when compared to their male counterparts.

16. Schizophrenia rates in the US are quite low since studies indicate that 1% of US residents are affected by this condition

The research has also concluded that symptoms associated with the condition generally appear for men, either during their late teens, or early 20s. Being diagnosed with this disease later is more unlikely. In the case of women, diagnoses are generally made for women aged 20 to 30 in the US; more on this will be covered in the mental health statistics by state section.

Anxiety has taken its toll on US citizens. Some of the most common anxiety disorders affecting people in this demographic include panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobias.

Mental Health Statistics by State

18. A recent study carried out by the Mental Health America organization has determined the states where mental illnesses are most common

It is important to note that the ranking below is based on several factors, like the number of adults suffering from mental illnesses, adults who are seriously considering suicide, adults suffering from a substance disorder, youths with a mental illness, suicidal youths, availability of the mental health workforce, adults who are unable to seek medical care due to high costs, and more.

As such, here are the states, in order of the percentage of Americans with mental illness:

  • Pennsylvania;
  • New York;
  • Vermont;
  • Rhode Island;
  • Maryland;
  • Minnesota;
  • Massachusetts;
  • New Jersey;
  • Iowa;
  • Connecticut.

19.A recent study determined the US states where mental illnesses are least prevalent

Now that we have determined which US states had the most mental illnesses, it’s high time we mentioned the states where such illnesses are less prevalent. Namely, the list of states that have the lowest percentage of mentally ill in the US includes the following:

  • Nevada;
  • Oregon;
  • Idaho;
  • Utah;
  • Wyoming;
  • Alaska;
  • Washington;
  • South Carolina;
  • Montana;
  • Kansas.

Upon closer inspection, we will notice that these states are less populous than the states comprising our previous list; they’re more rural as well. Hence, we can come to the conclusion that more populous (urban) areas bring with them their own set of troubles, in this case — an increased percentage in mental illness cases.

College Student Mental Health Statistics

20. More than 37,500 UK students from a total of 140 universities suffer from a mental illness

This translates to roughly 1 in 5 students, according to the University Student Mental Health Survey 2018. Therefore, we can deduce that the worldwide numbers are considerably higher.

Now, determining the exact number of people suffering from mental illness is extremely difficult, granted the negative stigma surrounding mental conditions; the real numbers (on the global scale) are likely in the millions, as college student mental health statistics suggest.

21. It is estimated that 1 in 3 UK college students have dealt with a serious psychological issue which would normally require the intervention of healthcare professionals

Despite this, many of these students choose to avoid seeking medical help, leading to the appearance of other mental issues later down the road. College is generally stressful, especially since it is generally young adults who enroll in bachelor’s degrees — hence, dealing with the issue on their own is more difficult.

 

Teen Mental Health Statistics

22. According to the Polaris Teen Centre, 1 in 5 teens suffer from a mental illness

This unfortunate statistic illustrates that youths are as likely to get a mental illness as adults. Due to the young age, teens generally avoid seeking help, highlighting why it is important for parents to get to know their children, and know how to spot any warning signs of mental illness.

Failure to do so usually leads to an aggravation of the illness, alongside the appearance of others from a long-term perspective. This youth mental health statistic is particularly true for teens in the 12–18 age group.

 

23. 11% of teens report experiencing one major depressive episode during the last year

Unfortunately, reports indicate that these rates are constantly rising, which once again, outlines the need for further research into what causes mental illness. Appropriate care is mandatory for youths granted their immaturity and fragile state-of-being. In fact, it is believed that 1.8 million teens and adolescents suffer from severe depression. Similarly, in the US, at least 5% of teens suffer from a substance abuse disorder.

 

24. Anxiety disorders are also proving to be very common in teens. Over 1 in 5 mental health suffering teens have an anxiety disorder

Further research has indicated that the most common mental condition for youths is a specific phobia. Some of the other common anxiety-related conditions include social phobia, separation anxiety, PTSD, panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, in this order.

Nevertheless, it is important to remember that other mental health conditions, like substance abuse and ADHD. Psychosis and depression are also fairly common in the case of teens, college students, and other groups of young adults. Thus, further research is required in this direction to help figure out ways to lower the incidence of mental health conditions for the younger population.

 

Social Media and Mental Health Statistics

25. A study carried out by the University of Missouri concluded that if Facebook use causes envy, depression follows

Social media is well-known for its impact on mental health, judging how numerous studies have been carried out within the last couple of years. Generally, while browsing social media, we often see what type of lives other people are leading. In many cases, these lives might seem considerably better, especially from a financial point of view. Therefore, the psychological response of envy is understandable, although not required granted that people usually post their best moments on social media, rather than their day-to-day lives, social media and mental health statistics suggest.

Despite this, a Missouri study has determined that people who browse social media and get a feeling of envy are likely to become depressed. Another direct link has been established between night-time social media use and mental health conditions like sleep disruption, unhappiness, and depression.

Mood swings are also bound to happen, according to a study published by the Lancer Psychiatry Institute. Hence, prolonged and improper social media use directly influences how many people suffer from mental illness. It is best for people to limit their overall social media use, and actively keep in mind that posting exquisite lifestyle posts and photos are actually the job of social media influencers.

Luckily, social media use can be beneficial as long as the main purpose of using Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms, is to better connect with friends, family, and acquaintances.

Conclusion

We hope that these mental health statistics shed more light on the prevalence of mental illnesses amongst teens, adults, and the elderly. Understanding that mental illnesses exist, and are considered real diseases is the first step towards taking care of loved ones affected by these conditions. We hope that in the future, medical professionals and analysts will continue studying mental health, leading to the development of smarter therapies and more efficient drugs.

The stigma associated with mental health should be as well as it stops people from seeking help, leading to worsening symptoms, disability, and in unfortunate cases, to suicide.

List of Sources: