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29 Staggering Mental Health Statistics for 2021

written by / January 13, 2021

Maintaining a healthy psychological state is the essence of our overall well-being. Sound mental health keeps us productive at work, helps us deal with stressful situations, keeps us socially active, and simply allows us to enjoy our lives to the fullest. Still, unpredictable life circumstances can make it difficult to maintain a positive mental state, and this is exactly why mental problems are so common worldwide. At DisturbMeNot, we’ve investigated the stats from various aspects of mental health and sorted out the striking ones for you to look through.

Read on for some intriguing mental health statistics and facts. 

10 Key Mental Health Statistics Worldwide 

  • In America, 1 out of 5 adults suffers from a mental illness, but around 60% of them don’t receive treatment.
  • It’s not uncommon for depression to occur with another illness or medical condition.
  • 83% of bipolar disorder patients have a severe case.
  • Young people from the LGBTQ+ population are 2.5 times more likely to experience symptoms of depression or anxiety or have problems with substance abuse.
  • Mental illness statistics in the USA show that 56% of Americans don’t receive mental health treatment when they need it, often because they don’t have access to mental healthcare.
  • In 2018, police officers shot and killed 987 people in the US, around 245 of whom had serious mental health issues.
  • 14.9% of children aged 4 and under whose parents had poor mental health develop a disorder themselves. 
  • Women are more likely to experience depression during their lifetimes than men.
  • It’s possible for a patient to suffer from both depression and schizophrenia.
  • Mental health disorders are more prevalent than cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.

General Mental Illness Statistics

Mental Health Statistics - Featured

In this section, we’ll look at general statistics on mental health

1. In America, 1 out of 5 adults suffers from a mental illness, but around 60% of them don’t receive treatment.

(Mental Help)

Despite the figures, people with mental issues still seem to be reluctant to reach out for medical attention. A survey from 2015 claims only 7% of people living in developed countries believe that mental illness can be overcome. Many people don’t seek help because of the perceived stigma of mental illness, as the statistics show. 

2. Anxiety disorders affect 18.1% of American adults (40 million) each year.

(Anxiety and Depression Association of America)

While these disorders can be treated, only 36.9% of those affected receive professional help. What’s more, it’s frequently the case that an anxiety disorder and depression will be diagnosed together. Half of the patients with depression are also diagnosed with anxiety, as specified throughout the anxiety statistics we discovered.

3. It’s not uncommon for depression to occur with another illness or medical condition.

(Depression and Bipolar Alliance)

People can experience depression as a result of a physical illness, or vice versa (depression can harm your physical welfare). Thus, 25% of cancer patients, one out of every three heart attack survivors, and 10%–27% of stroke sufferers experience depression, according to the statistics on depression provided by the National Institute of Mental Health.

4. 83% of bipolar disorder patients have a severe case.

(National Alliance on Mental Illness) 

Bipolar disorder isn’t just about the ups and downs most people imagine when picturing the disorder. The symptoms are much more complex. Bipolar patients experience long periods of extreme manic episodes, alternating interchangeably with depressive episodes. The transition between the two states can be dramatic and sometimes life-threatening, with suicide an omnipresent concern.

5. Depression statistics from 2014 show that around 6.7% of US adults had experienced at least one major depressive episode within the previous year.

(Anxiety and Depression Association of America) 

While it’s true that most people feel low at some point, it isn’t the norm to have persistent episodes of low mood, poor sleep, obscure thoughts, or lack of joy. Dealing with depression can be truly exhausting, but it’s important to bear in mind that you can’t and shouldn’t do it alone. Asking for help is a vital step in the healing process.

6. Schizophrenia statistics reveal that about 1% of the population is affected by this condition.

(Health Engine)

Although this might seem relatively rare, the figures vary significantly among different localizations (for example, in Australia, the prevalence of schizophrenia reaches 1.5%). Schizophrenia affects men more frequently than women, and it’s more common in urban areas.

Mental Health Statistics by Gender and Age

Here, we’ll be focusing on different demographics and how they are affected by mental health issues. 

7. Young people from the LGBTQ+ population are 2.5 times more likely to experience symptoms of depression or anxiety or have problems with substance abuse.

(Mental Health America) 

As per LGBT mental health statistics, studies show that young LGBTQ+ people may become depressed and engage in self-harm even before puberty, when they first start feeling different from their peers. Based on statements from 4,800 examinees from the UK, they are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide. These heartbreaking statistics seem to be related to the bullying they experience in response to their sexuality.

8. Anxiety is an issue for 50% of college students, most mental health statistics confirm.

(College Stats) 

Almost all students experience some kind of anxiety during their studies since they have to face so many challenges: meeting new people, studying for exams, taking on part-time jobs, etc. However, sometimes anxiety becomes overwhelming, interfering with productivity in every aspect of a student’s life. At this point, it becomes mandatory to consult a professional who can offer the appropriate therapeutic approach.

9. The third most common cause of death in young people aged 15–19 is a suicide, as indicated by recent adolescent mental health statistics.

(World Health Organization)

Adolescence is a time when many emotional and social adjustments occur in our lives, making us extremely mentally vulnerable. With the majority of mental health conditions going untreated in this age group, the frequency of suicide is also alarmingly high.

10. Veterans are very likely to experience depression, anxiety, or PTSD.

(Treatment Solutions) 

According to data on war veterans’ mental health, statistics show that up to a third of soldiers who’ve been to Iraq and Afghanistan are affected by mental health problems—which can often lead to drug or alcohol abuse. Experts claim that the rationale behind these problems might be that they have difficulties adjusting to their normal lives upon returning from war zones.

11. Mental health statistics indicate that women are more likely to experience depression during their lifetimes than men.

(Psychology Today) 

There’s a number of possible explanations for this. First of all, women are “victims” of shifting hormone levels, which is linked to depression, especially around childbirth and menopause. Moreover, women are more prone to self-reflection, and they’re more invested in their personal relationships. As a result, they’re more easily affected by emotional turbulence.

Additional Stats on Mental Health

Mental Health Statistics - Stats

In this section, we’ll be looking at the statistics not yet covered in previous sections. 

12. 56% of Americans don’t receive mental health treatment when they need it, often because they don’t have access to mental healthcare. 

(Mental Health America)

Mental health statistics in America reveal that 56% of American adults who are struggling with mental illness aren’t medically treated for it. And this is endemic throughout the country. While Maine has the most favorable statistics, even there, the figures are still devastating (41.4% of adult residents don’t receive mental health treatment).

13. In 2018, police officers shot and killed 987 people in the US, around 245 of whom had serious mental health issues.

(Psycom) 

These police and mental health statistics are shocking. We often come across news about the police shooting someone mentally ill who was violating the law. Part of the problem here is that officers are often unable to recognize mental illness. As more programs that provide mental health training for police officers are implemented, these numbers should improve. 

14. Statistics on mental health from 2015 show that 14% of all hospital beds throughout European Union countries were occupied by patients undergoing psychiatric care.

(Eurostat)

This number is concerningly high. However, it should be emphasized that this particular statistic refers to both mental and behavioral disorders—for example, Alzheimer’s disease is included (although Alzheimer’s is actually classified as a neurological disease).

15. There’s a strong connection between regular exercise and mental health, statistics show. 

(Help Guide) 

Exercise isn’t just about physique and muscle size—studies show that it’s also a powerful natural antidepressant, at least when it comes to mild or moderate depression. According to a study performed by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, even a daily aerobic workout for 15 minutes has the power to reduce the risk of depression by 26%.

16. 74% of adult internet users are on social media, which is 66% more people than ten years ago. 

(Mental Help) 

When it comes to social media use and mental health, statistics show that there’s a clear correlation between the two. Social networking provides us with a variety of ways to connect with other people, which seems like a useful invention. However, numerous studies have examined the very opposite, i.e., the harmful effects that social networks may have on our health. Namely, it’s easy to become obsessive in one’s online activities. There are also self-image problems that can occur when users begin to compare themselves to their peers.

17. Each year, 1.2 million people in the US with impaired mental health are in prisons, statistics indicate.

(Mental Health America)

The highest rate of imprisonment has been marked in the states with the least access to mental health care and poor mental health awareness, such as Alabama, Arkansas, and Texas. Accordingly, these states also have higher incarceration rates overall. Those imprisoned who also suffer from mental health problems usually first became involved with the law through minor offenses such as disorderly conduct.

18. 2017’s mental health statistics in the US report that West Virginia has the highest rate of depression in the country.

(America’s Health Rankings) 

High levels of poverty and poor physical health are probably the main contributing factors when it comes to these figures. It has also been reported that 28% of West Virginians over 18 are smokers, and 29% are physically inactive.

19. According to the prevalence of mental health issues, rates of schizophrenia are high among Australians.

(Better Health)

Schizophrenia, a notably severe mental health condition, is characterized by disturbances in reasoning and emotions, and an overall twisted perception of reality. The data suggests that this chronic condition is quite widespread in Australia (with around 150,000–200,000 patients suffering from it). However, it’s relatively rare worldwide, according to most facts about schizophrenia.

20. 14.9% of children aged 4 and under whose parents had poor mental health develop a disorder themselves. 

(Mental Health)

Mental disorders are greatly impacted by how firm and healthy our personal relationships are. For example, the rates of mental disorders are higher in children (especially teenagers) whose families are dysfunctional as a result of violence, low income, or a host of other issues.

Mental Health Facts and Debunked Myths

Mental Health Statistics - Facts

There are many myths surrounding mental health. Here, we’ll be looking at facts and also debunking myths. 

21. Mental health has nothing to do with weakness.

(Mental Health)

Despite the misconceptions of those who lack accurate information on mental health disorders, there’s no correlation between mental illnesses and character flaws. Although for our mental hygiene it’s important to manage our flaws successfully, one definitely doesn’t become mentally ill as a result of laziness or weakness.

22. Children’s mental health can be endangered, too.

(Mayo Clinic)

Although children aren’t the most common sufferers of mental disorders, they do experience mental problems, and it happens more frequently than people may assume. Due to the misconception that children can’t become depressed, anxious, schizophrenic, etc., many of them are misdiagnosed, or their state is considered typical childish behavior.

23. Transgender health issues are no longer classified as mental and behavioral disorders.

(ScienceDirect & BBC News) 

In May 2019, the World Health Organization announced that being transgender would no longer be classified as a mental health issue as it had been defined under ICD-10. Under ICD-11, gender incongruence, or “a marked and persistent incongruence between a person’s experienced gender and assigned sex,” is no longer classified among the mental and behavioral disorders. Hopefully, this will have a positive impact on transgender mental health statistics, which in 2018 indicated that transgender people have a four-fold increased risk of depression.

24. There actually is something you can do to prevent certain mental disorders.

(Psychology Today) 

While there’s little we can do about certain life circumstances, we’re granted the ability to pay attention to whether we get enough sleep, eat healthily, and exercise regularly, which can altogether do a lot for our mental health. What also enhances our mental state is achieving a sense of purpose and participating in satisfactory social activities. Also, it’s important to educate ourselves on mental health so that we’re able to recognize any possible symptoms early and seek help.

25. It’s possible for a patient to suffer from both depression and schizophrenia, the facts and data confirm.

(Up to Date) 

Symptoms of depression are frequent among patients with schizophrenia. Comorbidity of schizophrenia and depression results in a more problematic outcome (even suicide), whatever the primary diagnosis.

26. Therapy and medication aren’t ever a waste of time.

(Mental Health America) 

In the same way, you would seek medical attention after you’d experienced pneumonia symptoms, you ought to seek help for mental problems. Moreover, in order to properly recover, you need to stick to the prescribed therapy—just as if you had pneumonia. Help does exist, and you can get better, just make sure you opt for the right type of therapy.

27. “Chemical imbalance in the brain” is an over-abused phrase.

(Harvard Health Publishing) 

The global mental health statistics suggest that there’s more to mental illness than merely having too much or too little of certain chemicals in the brain. We’re not trying to refute the fact that chemicals are involved. However, mental disorders are much more complex. There are other factors that contribute: stress, upbringing, genetic vulnerability, other medical conditions, etc.

28. Mental health disorders are more prevalent than cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.

(Huff Post) 

People commonly believe that mental illnesses are rare—and what’s more, that they most certainly occur in someone else. Unfortunately, the reality is that millions of people suffer from some mental disorder (according to estimates, 44 million Americans).

29. Mental health statistics suggest that bus drivers seem to have the highest rates of depression.

(Spring) 

The research shows that as a result of their stressful jobs, bus drivers (especially those in public transportation) have elevated rates of heart disease, hypertension, or stroke—all of which can be brought on by high stress. This can be explained by the number of people bus drivers interact with on a daily basis, as well as the lack of physical activity, which is often linked to depression.

Conclusion

We hope that the mental health statistics up to 2021 we provided will help readers find the best way to help themselves or a loved one. Although mental health refers to our emotional welfare, we must be aware that our physical health can directly impact our mental state, and vice versa. Thus, while you can’t change your genetic predispositions, nor predict events that may hurt you, it’s essential that you get to know yourself, express your feelings, manage stress, connect to the people and places that bring you joy, and lead an overall healthy lifestyle. 

FAQs

What percentage of the population has mental health issues?

Around 20.6% of adults in the United States suffer from a mental illness. This works out to around 51.5 million people over the age of 18 who have some form of mental illness. This goes to show that mental health is something that a large number of people have issues with.

What are the top 3 mental illnesses?

The three most prevalent mental health disorders in the United States are anxiety disorders, major depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder. These disorders can affect people in a number of ways and to different degrees. These are simply the top three that affect the most number of people. 

How many people suffer from mental illness?

Approximately, one out of seven people around the globe suffers from one or more mental disorders, including those induced by substance abuse. Anxiety disorders seem to have the highest prevalence rates.

What country has the highest rate of mental illness?

According to a survey including 14 countries, the US had the highest rate of mental illness—27%. It was followed by Ukraine, where the rate of mental illness was 21%.

(WebMD)

Why do people develop mental illnesses?

As with most other diseases, mental illnesses are caused by a variety of factors, which range from the physical to the psychological, the most common being genetics, a biochemical imbalance, and external sources of stress.

How many mental illnesses are there?

The list of mental disorders contains over 200 types of mental illness. Almost everyone is familiar with the most common ones, such as clinical anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder, but there’s an abundance of rare mental disorders most of us have never heard of.

Who can diagnose mental illness?

A psychiatrist is the most qualified specialist to diagnose mental illnesses. Also, they’re usually (although not necessarily always) trained to provide various types of behavioral therapy. Psychologists can do this as well—however, they can’t determine a diagnosis or prescribe medication.

What are the best ways to get help for a mental disorder?

When it comes to how to get mental help, the best solution is to consult a psychiatrist immediately. Depending on the severity of your condition, they will prescribe medication, behavioral therapy, or both. There’s no such thing as a mental disorder test, so a misdiagnosis is possible. Sessions with a trained therapist or counselor should help, as well. All of these professionals are capable of suggesting the best lifestyle changes to help treat the condition.

What percentage of students have mental health issues?

Based on a comprehensive study including 196 colleges, the rate of students with mental issues is growing. The findings show that 34% of respondents were treated for mental problems in the past year. Additionally, according to the latest mental health statistics, 36% of students had lifetime diagnoses of a mental health condition. 

Sources