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30 of the Most Shocking Mental Health Statistics & Facts

by Hermina Drah

The definition of mental illness is the sum of a person’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being, and it affects how we feel, act, and think about the world around us. Mental health, a frequently overlooked topic in modern society, should be nourished with as much care as physical health. 

Unfortunately, the mental health statistics  gathered over the last couple of years are alarming. Even though every single person may suffer from mental health issues, the important thing to remember is that help is always available, and most importantly, recovery is possible.

The following provides a preview of the top 10 most important pieces of data on mental health.

The Top 10 Mental Health Statistics to Keep in Mind

  • Approximately 3.1% of US adults have generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Women are twice as likely to develop generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Approximately 50% of the economic costs brought on by major depressive disorder are due to work absences or reduced productivity.
  • 5% of the population in the US experiences seasonal depression every year, the statistics on depression indicate.
  • Social phobias affect around 7.1% of the adult population in the US.
  • Less than 10% of individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder receive treatment.
  • Between 0.9% and 2% of females and between 0.1% and 0.3% of males develop anorexia.
  • Approximately 25.5% of female college athletes have some form of subclinical eating disorder.
  • Statistics on mental health have shown that 59.3% of children between the ages of 3 and 17 have received treatment for anxiety.
  • Individuals between the ages of 14 and 19 who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender have a 34.9% higher chance of developing a mental disorder.

Get ready to dive into the most important statistics concerning mental health and find out more about the most prevalent mental health disorders.

Generalized Anxiety Statistics

Mental Health Statistics - Anxiety

Generalized anxiety disorder is marked by excessive worry and bursts of anxiety about different events or activities in the future, such as a test in school or an upcoming interview. Individuals who suffer from anxiety find it extremely difficult to control their feelings of worry—this may lead to strained relationships or impede other spheres of life.

As the most common mental illness, it’s important to understand anxiety’s signs, symptoms, and treatment. In fact, professionals often recommend taking a mental illness test to check optimal mental health levels. 

1. Approximately 3.1% of US adults have generalized anxiety disorder.

(ADAA) 

Generalized anxiety disorder is seen as one of the most frequently occurring disorders in the United States, affecting around 6.8 million adults, according to recent mental health statistics

2. Around 32.3% of adults with generalized anxiety disorder are highly impaired as a result.

(NIMH) 

Statistics from last year have shown that 32.3% of the adults with generalized anxiety disorder displayed serious impairment, while 23.1% had a mild form of impairment. The impairment level was determined based on scores from the Sheehan Disability Scale. 

3. Around 2.2% of adolescents have some form of generalized anxiety disorder.

(NIMH) 

Recent adolescent mental health statistics have shown that around 2.2% of US adolescents suffer from generalized anxiety disorder. Furthermore, 0.9% of them displayed a severe level of impairment because of it. 

4. There is a 57% chance of recovery from generalized anxiety disorder with a psychotherapy-based approach.

(NCBI, Psychology Today) 

According to Psychology Today, there’s a good chance of recovering from the disorder through psychotherapy. Nevertheless, considering that medication-based treatment achieves a 60% success rate at most, more still needs to be done to help these patients.

5. Women have double the chances of developing a generalized anxiety disorder.

(ADAA) 

Based on the mental health statistics in the US determined by the National Institute of Mental Health, female patients display notably higher chances of developing the disorder than their male counterparts. This might be explained by the fact that women are usually more frequently exposed to discrimination and sexual abuse, both being triggering factors.

Major Depressive Disorder Statistics

Mental Health Statistics - Depression

Depression is known for affecting people of all ages and genders, and it’s also one of the most frequent mental health disorders on a global level according to the depression statistics from 2019. The symptoms include loss of interest in once pleasurable activities, mood swings, sleep issues, and a drastic change in appetite.

6. Around 5% of the population in the US experiences seasonal depression every year.

(MHA) 

Seasonal affective disorder is a depressive disorder whose pattern follows seasonal changes. It’s most frequently diagnosed during the winter in people who choose to live in cold climates. On the other hand, it’s less common in the summer.

7. Just over 7% of US adults experienced a major depressive episode in 2017.

(NIMH)

How many people suffer from major depression? Based on fairly recent data from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, around 17.3 million adults in the US (7.1% of the population) have dealt with major depressive disorder.

8. Postpartum depression occurs in 1 in 7 women.

(NIMH) 

Women are frequently exposed to stress, loneliness, and exhaustion after giving birth. Based on statistics, one in seven women experiences a mild, moderate, or severe form of postpartum depression after delivering a baby. Usually, symptoms of depression appear during the final stage of pregnancy. If you’re one of the many women wondering how to get mental help, a local professional can give you the most reliable advice.

9. In 2017 alone, over 47,000 Americans died by suicide.

(AFSP)

Individuals who suffer from constant depressive episodes may show suicidal tendencies if the disorder is left untreated. In 2017, the total US suicide number showed that 47,173 Americans had taken their own lives. This is a clear mental health crisis—mental health statistics show that around 40% of these individuals had already made at least one previous attempt.

10. Half of the economic costs associated with major depressive disorder are due to employees missing work or underperforming at work due to the condition.

(Workplace Mental Health) 

Depression not only takes a major toll on the individual and their family, but it also takes a toll on the whole of society. Chronic depression leads to higher rates of unemployment and low earning potential. Considering how many people suffer from mental illness, this is a major concern for the economy.

Statistics on Specific Phobias

Mental Health Statistics - Phobias

A phobia is defined as an irrational yet persistent and extremely overwhelming fear that leads to avoidance of an object or a situation. For example, some individuals may be afraid of certain things such as spiders or tall buildings, whereas others feel overwhelmed in social gatherings.

11. Social phobias affect 7.1% of the US adult population.

(NIMH) 

Around 15 million American individuals over 18 are affected by a social anxiety disorder. Approximately 30% of the affected individuals have a severe case, while the majority experiences milder symptoms.

12. Only 40% of individuals with social phobia receive treatment.

(NCBI) 

Underscoring the ongoing problems with society’s mental health stigma, statistics indicate around a third of individuals suffering from social phobia delay their treatment for up to 10 years or more.

13. Agoraphobia without panic disorder affects around 0.9% of the US adult population.

(Verywell Mind, Medscape) 

Agoraphobia, the fear of situations that may be hard to escape from, is commonly associated with panic disorder. The two are usually combined, but it’s estimated that agoraphobia without panic disorder affects around 0.9% of the US population, or 1.8 million people. Other evidence based on schizophrenia statistics suggests that panic disorder may also be accompanied by psychosis.

14. Nearly 80% of individuals with some form of phobia find relief in medicines and therapy.

(NCBI) 

Even though success stories are abundant, it’s important for patients to continue their phobia treatment for as long as it’s required, even past finding relief. Data shows that about 50% of the individuals in therapy tend to relapse.

15. An estimated 21.9% of adults with a phobia are seriously impaired because of it.

(NIMH) 

Impairment levels determined by the Sheehan Disability Scale show that 48.1% of the subjects experienced mild impairment. However, these statistics also concern younger individuals. In the case of college students, mental health statistics show that the fear of missing out and fear of failing are among their top phobias.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Statistics

Mental Health Statistics - OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (commonly abbreviated as OCD) is defined as having frequent thoughts and behaviors that a person might feel inclined to repeat over and over. The thoughts turn into obsessions, and the behaviors are compulsions.

16. Around 1.2% of adults in the United States have obsessive-compulsive disorder.

(ADAA) 

In the case of mental health in America, statistics show that obsessive-compulsive disorder is on the rise. Over 5 million US adults will face an OCD diagnosis at some point in their lives.

17. Less than 10% of individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder receive treatment.

(NCBI) 

Many individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder attempt to hide the symptoms from others. As a result, professionals estimate that less than 10% of them are currently getting the treatment they need. Maybe the mental health statistics from 2020 will show some kind of improvement, or the beginning of one.

18. Rates of obsessive-compulsive disorder are higher among women.

(NCBI) 

According to the statistics about mental health determined by the National Institute of Mental Health, rates of obsessive-compulsive disorder are considered to be higher in women (1.8%) than in men (0.5%). This might be explained by stressful housework involving cleaning rituals, as well as struggles outside of family life, for example in the work environment.

19. Up to 90% of people with obsessive-compulsive disorder suffer from another type of mental disorder.

(NCBI) 

According to the mental health statistics, only 10% of people suffer solely from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Anxiety has shown a 75.8% comorbidity rate with OCD, and depression has shown a 40.7% rate.

20. There is a 40%–60% success rate of therapy with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

(Harvard Health) 

Luckily, patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder have shown a positive response to drug therapy, with up to a 60% chance at recovery. However, patients who stop taking SSRIs are likely to relapse. Based on data following veterans’ mental health, statistics show that veterans suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder as well as posttraumatic stress disorder may need additional therapy.

Eating Disorder Statistics

Mental Health Statistics - Eating Disorders

An eating disorder (abbreviated as ED) is characterized by body dysmorphia, abnormal eating habits, and serious distress about body weight. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are examples of some of the most common mental disorders associated with eating that affect both men and women of all ages and races.

21. Up to 30 million Americans suffer from some form of eating disorder.

(ANAD) 

Based on the eating disorder statistics conducted by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, there are up to 30 million people with an eating disorder in the US. However, there’s an issue with these specific mental illness statistics: not many people decide to come forward for diagnosis due to fear of being judged.

22. Between 0.9% and 2% of females and between 0.1% and 0.3% of males will develop anorexia.

(NEDA) 

Eric Stice and Cara Bohon (2012) found information that up to 2% of women and 0.3% of men will develop anorexia at some point in their lives. Also, subthreshold anorexia appears in 1.1%–3% of teen girls.

23. Anorexic individuals aged 15–24 have a 10 times higher risk of dying early compared to their healthy peers.

(NEDA) 

Anorexia and bulimia are among the most common mental disorders, affecting both men and women. Anorexic individuals between the ages of 15 and 24 have a significantly higher risk of dying, possibly by stroke.

24. 25% of anorexia patients are male.

(Eating Disorders) 

Various mental health articles also note that men with anorexia nervosa have a higher risk of dying from the illness than women. This is generally attributed to the fact that they are diagnosed much later, when the condition has taken a firmer hold.

25. Around 25.5% of female college athletes displayed symptoms of a subclinical eating disorder.

(The Sport Journal) 

For students in college, the mental health statistics show that eating disorders are more common among athletes, especially young women. This is due to the increased attention they give to their physical appearance. In addition, this group is twice as likely to become injured when compared to athletes who show no symptoms of an eating disorder.

Children’s Mental Health Facts and Statistics

Mental Health Statistics - Children's Mental Health

Certain mental health issues such as anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and behavior disorder impact the ways children learn in school, how they control their emotions, and their quality of life. 

26. 9.4% of children and youths below the age of 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD.

(Taylor and Francis, CDC) 

The most common mental health issues present in children between the ages of 2 and 17 are ADHD, anxiety, and depression. For comparison, 7.4% of children below the age of 17 have been diagnosed with a behavior problem, and 7.1% have anxiety. A large number of children with symptoms of ADHD also develop symptoms of schizophrenia, such as psychosis. The facts about schizophrenia note that early childhood symptoms involve hearing voices, having delusions, and experiencing vivid hallucinations.

27. 59.3% of children aged 3–17 who have anxiety received treatment.

(Journal of Pediatrics) 

Treatment rates have been shown to vary among different mental problems. 53.5% of children with a behavior disorder and 78.1% of children with depression received some form of therapy. Furthermore, teen mental health statistics also show an increased number of individuals receiving treatment for the illness.

28. 17.5% of children between the ages of 2 and 8 have been diagnosed with a mental disorder.

(CDC) 

According to surveys, mental health issues can appear early on in childhood. It’s estimated that one in six young children in the US has been diagnosed with either a mental, developmental, or behavioral illness.

29. Information based on transgender mental health statistics shows that members of the LGBTQ community aged 14–19 have a 34.9% higher chance of developing a mental disorder.

(Mental Health Foundation) 

Some of the many reasons LGBTQ youths develop mental disorders include discrimination, prejudice, the denial of their civil and human rights, and family rejection.

30. 14.9% of children with parents who have a mental disorder will develop a disorder themselves by the early age of 4.

(Mental Health Foundation) 

Evidently, many children’s mental health conditions are influenced by their family and surroundings. Mental health statistics have shown that family ties and social connections are extremely important, especially for children of younger ages. It was shown that very young children between the ages of two and four whose parents or guardians suffer from a mental disorder also develop one.

Conclusion

The previous data covers some of the most common mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and specific phobias—and of course, the list of mental disorders doesn’t end there. With this in mind, these concerning mental health statistics should be noted for further research. 

Remember, if you or a loved one is suffering from any of the mental health issues mentioned, never hesitate to reach out to a professional.

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