While you can’t always see mental illness, it does readily exist. We sometimes forget to acknowledge issues bubbling right below the surface because they are harder to label, harder to make sense of. Yet, sadly, across America, adults and children battle mental illness daily, many times undiagnosed, and frequently alone.
Fortunately, the month of May reminds us to look within ourselves and around our community.
May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month. It serves as a call to action, a plea to society to reflect on the state of mental health in America, and unite in understanding and committing to bettering mental health treatment and awareness for future generations.
Key in bettering mental health is both knowledge and understanding. It is imperative that each of us is active in understanding the scope of mental health in America, so that we stay tuned-in and equipped to aid and support those suffering: family, friends, colleagues and neighbors.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and Mental Health America (MHA), have complied research and statistics that help illuminate the prevalence of mental health in the communities around us. As you gain perspective, take a moment and reflect on those in your life who may be suffering.
U.S. Adult Mental Health
(as reported by NAMI, NIMH, MHA)
- 1 in 5 U.S. adults have a mental health condition (~40 million Americans)
- 1 in 25 live with a serious mental health condition on a daily basis
- LGBTQ individuals are 2 or more times more likely than straight individuals to have a mental health condition
- 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experience an anxiety disorder such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and other specific phobias
- 6.9% of U.S. adults (~16 million) have had at least on major depressive episode in the past year
- Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of chronic medical conditions
- Adults with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than others, largely due to treatable medical conditions
U.S. Youth Mental Health
(as reported by NAMI, NIMH, MHA)
- Youth mental health is worsening. Rates of youth with severe depression have increased from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015 (that's enough to fill every MLB stadium on the East coast twice!)
- Nearly 50% of youth aged 8-15 didn’t receive mental health services in the previous year
- 50% of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and 75% by age 24
- 37% of students with a mental health condition (age 14–21 and older) drop out of school—the highest dropout rate of any disability group
- More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition
How can you make an impact in changing the tide, in promoting a healthier future?
Pay attention to those around you. While you can’t see mental illness, you can see warning signs, and you can notice behaviors that suggest mental suffering.
- Severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships.
- Intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities like work, hanging out with friends, or going to classes.
- Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than 2 weeks (e.g., crying regularly, feeling fatigued, feeling unmotivated).
- Not eating, throwing up or using laxatives to lose weight; significant weight loss or gain.
If you are struggling with mental health, we can help.
You are not alone in this fight.