Mental Health Awareness

Facts and Statistics
January 25, 2009, 9:06 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


  • Workplace stress causes about 1 million U.S. employees to miss work each day. (AIS, 2003)
  • Work-related stress can double people’s risk of dying from heart disease. (BJM, Oct. 2002)
  • Workplace environments have a greater effect on employee stress levels than the number of hours employees work. (UA, 2003)
  • American employees used about 8.8 million sick days in 2001 due to untreated or mistreated depression. (NCQA, Sept. 2002; NIMH, 1996
  • Employee absenteeism due to depression costs U.S. businesses between $33 billion and $44 billion per year. (NCQA, Sept. 2002; NIMH, 1996)
  • Anxiety-related disorders cost the United States $42 billion a year in work-related and medical losses. (NIMH, 1999)
  • In a typical workplace with 20 employees, four will likely develop a mental illness this year. (NIMH, 2002)
  • The percentage of employers who offer insurance coverage for mental illnesses dropped from 84 percent in 1997 to 79 percent in 2002. (SHRM, 2002)
  • Workers who abuse drugs cost their employers twice as much in medical and worker compensation claims as workers who do not abuse drugs. (NIDA, 2003)


  • People who have major depression and anxiety disorders are 60 percent less likely to relapse if they exercise regularly and continue exercising over time than if they take medication alone. (PM, June 2003)
  • Depression is a major public health problem that affects up to 6 million American men and 12 million American women annually. (NIMH, 2003)
  • The treatment success rates for such disorders as depression (more than 80 percent), panic disorder (70-90 percent) and schizophrenia (60 percent), surpass those of other medical conditions, such as heart disease (45-50 percent). (NIMH, 2002)
  • Less than half of all Americans who have serious mental illnesses do not receive adequate treatment each year. (NEJM, 2005)
  • Although about 16 percent of American adults will develop depression at some point, only one-fifth will receive the care they need to treat the condition. (JAMA, June 2003)
  • An estimated 2.5 million Americans have bipolar disorder. The actual number may be 2-3 times higher since as many as 80 percent of people with this illness go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. (NMHA, 2003)

Diverse Communities

  • Only 33 percent of African Americans enrolled in Medicare managed care health plans receive follow-up care after being hospitalized for a mental illness, compared with 54 percent of white Americans. (JAMA, March 24, 2002)
  • One-third of all Latinos (33.2 percent) lack health insurance coverage, a far higher proportion than any other ethnic group. (USCB, 2001)
  • Ninety percent of African American youths who enter the mental health system live in poverty. (USSG, 2001)
  • While the suicide rate for white teenage males fell somewhat between 1986 and 1997, the rate for African American male teens increased dramatically during the same period (7.1 per 100,000 to 11.4 per 100,000). (USSG, 2001)
  • Suicide rates among Native American adolescents and young adults account for 64 percent of all Native American suicides. (CDC, 2001)
  • More than three-quarters of teens (78 percent) report that kids who are gay or thought to be gay are teased or bullied in their schools and communities. (NMHA, 2002)
  • Up to 42 percent of teens who are homeless are also gay, lesbian or transgender. (GLBTP, April 30, 2003)
  • About 70 percent of Southeast Asian immigrants to the U.S. who receive mental health care have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. (USSG, 2001)

Children and Families

  • Kids who say other students bully them at school are 50 percent more likely to admit they brought weapons to school during the past month than students who’ve never bullied or been bullied. (NICHHD, 2003)
  • Nearly 4 percent of boys and more than 6 percent of girls have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder caused by violence they have endured or witnessed. (JCCP, 2003)
  • Although as many as 8.1 million Americans age 12 and older have tried the illegal “club drug” Ecstasy, only 1 percent of American parents believe their children have taken the drug. (PDFA, 2002)
  • Five to 9 percent of children in the United States have a serious emotional disturbance. (USSG, 1999)
  • About 13 percent of children between 9 and 17 years old have an anxiety disorder. (USSG, 1999)
  • Between 3 and 5 percent of school-age children have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. (USSG, 1999)
  • An estimated 1 percent of teenage girls in the United States develop anorexia nervosa, and up to 10 percent of those may die as a result. (AABA, 2001)
  • Nearly two-thirds of boys and three-quarters of girls in juvenile detention centers have a psychiatric disorder. (AGP, Dec. 2002)
  • Only about 21 percent of children in the United States who need mental health services actually receive them. (AJP, Sept. 2002)
  • About every two hours, a young person commits suicide. (AAS, 2002)
  • Three million teenagers have considered or attempted suicide in the past year. (SAMHSA, 2002)
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among people under 24 years old after accidents and homicide. (CDC, 2002)
  • Families with children constitute the fastest growing segment of the homeless population – 41 percent, up from 34 percent in 2000. (NCH, 2003)

College Students

  • Ten percent of college students have been diagnosed with depression. (NMHA, 2001)
  • Seven percent of college students have an anxiety disorder. (NIMH, 2000)
  • Approximately 5 percent of college women have bulimia. (AABA, 2001)
  • The number of freshmen reporting “below average” emotional health has been on the rise since 1985. (UCLA, 2002)
  • More than 75 percent of college students reported feeling “overwhelmed” in 2001, while 22 percent were sometimes so depressed they couldn’t function. (ACHA, 2001)
  • The suicide rate among males between the ages of 15 and 24 has nearly quadrupled over the last 60 years, and the rate among females in the same age group has doubled. (CDC, 2002)

Older Adults

  • Older adults who are caregivers to spouses or other relatives may be at an increased risk for developing heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis and some cancers due to long-term stress. (OSU, 2003)
  • Medical treatment outcomes are worse when complicated by mental health problems. For example, rehabilitation from a hip fracture or a heart attack is less successful and more expensive when complicated by depression. (NIMH, 2003)
  • About 11 percent of adults over age 55 have an anxiety disorder. (USSG, 1999)
  • While 4.4 percent of older adults have a mood disorder such as depression, up to 20 percent have significant symptoms of depression. (USSG, 1999)
  • Older men are far less likely to seek and receive treatment for depression than older women. (UCLA, 2003)
  • Older adults enrolled in Medicare pay 50 percent of outpatient mental health treatment costs, but they pay only 20 percent of costs associated with other medical services. (AMA, 2002)
  • About 17 percent of older adults qualified to receive benefits through Medicaid were not enrolled in their state programs. (NCOA, 2002)
  • The highest rate of suicide for any age group (19.4 per 100,000) is among people age 85 and older. The second highest rate of suicide (17.7 per 100,000) is among those between age 75 and 84. (AAS, 2002)
  • Men commit 83 percent of all suicides among people 65 and older. (CDC, 2001)


  • The poor health and premature deaths of people who lack health insurance coverage cost the nation between $65 billion and $130 billion annually. (IOM, 2003)
  • One in five American families has at least one member who lacks health insurance coverage, a situation that can place the entire family at risk for financial ruin and poor health. (IOM, Sept. 2002)
  • Parents in 19 states surrendered custody of nearly 13,000 children in 2001 to get their youth the mental health treatment the parents could not afford. (GAO, 2003)
  • Between 28 and 30 percent of the U.S. population has a mental health disorder, substance abuse disorder or both. (USSG, 1999)
  • Untreated and mistreated mental illness costs the United States $105 billion in lost productivity and $8 billion in crime and welfare expenditures each year. A 5.5 percent increase in spending by businesses and government on mental health treatment could cut these costs by half. (BJP, 1998; NMHA, 2001)
  • Full mental health insurance parity will increase insurance premiums by only 0.9 percent. (CBO, 2000)
  • Regular physical exercise can help people reduce stress, depression and anxiety, and enable them to cope better with adversity. (UNM, 2003)
  • More than 600,000 visits to hospital emergency rooms due to drug use were recorded in 2000. (NIDA, 2003)
  • Alcohol and drug abuse cost society about $245.7 billion in 1992. Of this amount, about 46 percent was borne by governments. (NIDA, 2003)

Key to References
AABA – American Anorexia Bulimia Association
AAS – American Association of Suicidology
ACHA – American College Health Association
AGP – Archives of General Psychiatry
AIS – American Institute of Stress
AJP – American Journal of Psychiatry
AMA – American Medical Association
BJM – British Journal of Medicine
BJP – British Journal of Psychiatry
CBO – Congressional Budget Office
CDC – U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
GAO – General Accounting Office
GLBTP – Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Health Access Project
HA – Health Affairs Journal
HU – Harvard University
IOM – Institute of Medicine
JAMA – Journal of the American Medical Association
JCCP – Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychiatry
NCH – National Coalition for the Homeless
NCOA – National Council on the Aging
NCQA – National Committee for Quality Assurance
NEJM – New England Journal of Medicine
NICHHD – National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
NIDA – National Institute on Drug Abuse
NIMH – National Institute of Mental Health
NMHA – National Mental Health Association
OSU – Ohio State University
PDFA – Partnership for a Drug-Free America
PM – Journal of Preventive Medicine
SAMHSA – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
SHRM – Society for Human Resource Management
UA – University of Arkansas
UCLA – University of California, Los Angeles
UNM – University of New Mexico
USCB – U.S. Census Bureau
USSG – Mental Health: Report of the Surgeon General