15 Unbelievable Facts About Mental Health

Do you know how many people suffer from mental illness? More than you would think!

For those that live with depression or anxiety or another condition, it seems that we are alone in our suffering. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. You can read more about what depression is like with the linked blog post.

15 Unbelievable Facts About Mental Health

(Credit: “15 Facts About Mental Health You Should Know.

•According to the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work, 1 in 5 people in the US live with some form of mental health condition. 1 in 25 people have a “serious” condition like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

Every time I see these statistics, I cannot believe it. I’ve lived with depression for going on 25 years, and bipolar disorder for 10 years. So, I can relate to how isolated so many people feel. There are days when I feel like my experience is so awful it has to be the only one like it.

But really, if I stand in a room with 99 other people, 20 of us have some form of depression or anxiety. 4 of us have a similar experience to me. That is a really powerful mental image!

•Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15-29 year olds. 41,000 people die of suicide annually in the US. Globally, that number is over 800,000.

That makes me so unbelievably sad. If you break that down, that means in the United States 3,416 people commit suicide each month. That is around 113 people a day, which is nearly 5 people an hour.

I have been suicidal in the past and I know how it feels to want to die. It is not a gimmick. It is not a way to get attention. Being suicidal is a place of dark despair. It is like falling into a pit without a rope or ladder to use to climb out. It is not a joke. Suicide is a very serious problem.

Did you know…?

•If you have been to war or lived through a major disaster, your chances are twice as high of having a mental illness.

I absolutely believe it. I am very grateful that I have never lived through anything like that. That being said, I have faced trauma through the tragic death of a loved one. I am sure things like that fall under this umbrella too.

•People with mental illness get a bad reputation for being violent but that is simply not true! Only 3-5% of violent acts are caused by the mentally ill.

It always makes me so sad that this is such a common misconception about mental illness. I may have bipolar disorder but I am not a violent person, and have never had violent tendencies (apart from periods of suicidal ideation.)

This is a stigma we need to break. The mentally ill aren’t just people who commit mass shootings, or murder a co-worker, or commit acts of sexual violence. We are the people next door, just trying to live our lives. Too often, that truth gets lost somehow.

•Mental illness is caused by genetics, physical illness/injury, or trauma.

Mine was certainly triggered by the death of my cousin. Or, I should say, specifically, to the emotional environment I was surrounded by following his death.

I am also predisposed to it genetically. Both of my parents have been treated for depression.

This fact is one of the most important ones on the list. It shows that mental illness is caused by something. It is not something a person chooses.

Did you know…?

•There is such a stigma still attached to mental illness that only 44% of people with mental health conditions seek treatment.

I believe this, because I see the stigma all around me. Friends who keep their distance, family members who treat you with kid gloves…

The stigma is real. And it hurts people. This makes them not want to be treated. Be treated gives you a label you can’t escape from. It’s like admitting an embarrassing truth about yourself.

•Treatment for depression isn’t just meds! There is also therapy which is very effective, but also more alternative treatments (yoga, meditation, etc)

I like to say that my treatment plan is a mix of east meets west. I take my meds and go to therapy, but I also exercise and use essential oils to be proactive about my health.

Neither way is technically “correct.” You have to find what works for you, and commit to it every day.

•It is possible to prevent many cases of mental illness by addressing certain risk factors like trauma.

Trauma is not my area of specialty in writing about mental health because my trauma (the death of my cousin) is something I have never fully addressed in therapy.

However, I think it is certainly possible that with better resources for those that have been victims of trauma, we could see less instances of serious mental health.

Did you know…?

•According to the aforementioned article, “Improving mental health services in low- to medium-income countries is not as costly as some may think. An investment of only $2-4 per capita would have a major impact on millions of lives.”

If every person in the US contributed $2-4, there would be such an amazing ripple effect. Resources could be created, people could be helped, those people could turn around and help others.

Why are we not doing this?

•The US sees $200 billion in lost earnings every year because of serious mental illness.

Many people who are mentally ill cannot work. This is for a variety of reasons. One of them being that depression can lead to physical complaints. It also weakens your immune system. So, mental illness can lead to physical illness, and both can result in an inability to function properly in a professional environment.

When someone can’t work, that changes the company’s financial dynamic. Often times that means they are short staffed, which lowers productivity, and lowers potential profits.

Another way to interpret this is that mental ill people miss a total of $200 billion in earnings, which affects taxes.

•Half of the adults in the US that struggle with substance abuse are mentally ill.

Substance abuse can lead to a lot of extenuating circumstances that could contribute to issues with mental health. For instance, loneliness due to strained family relations. Or financial stress due to a lost job.

Whatever the case, substance abuse and mental illness make excellent bedfellows.

Did you know…?

•20% of young people have a mental health condition

My mental illness definitely started when I was young. There is so much pressure to develop and grow a certain way. Sometimes it is massively overwhelming. There is the pressure to fit in, and get good grades, and get your first job.

No wonder kids need a bunch of extra support!

•If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community, you are twice as likely to have a mental illness.

Unfortunately, there is still so much stigma that exists surrounding the LGBTQ+ community. Partly this is because people fear what they do not understand. They do not take the time to understand people living through this journey, so they consider it “bad” or “wrong.”

This can lead the person going through it feeling misunderstood and alone. It is not surprising how prevalent mental health issues are.

•70-90% of people who seek treatment get better.

Keep in mind, there is no cure for mental illness. However, if you take the first step of getting treatment, chances are you can feel well enough to lead a fulfilling life.

Last but not least: most people living with mental illness lead productive lives despite their challenges.


These facts about mental health can be pretty daunting. Which one did you find most interesting? Let me know in the comments below!

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