We now know more than ever about how to effectively diagnosis and treat mental illness thanks to scientific advancements in such areas as pharmacology, psychiatry and, of course, psychology.
Despite this remarkable progress, however, many Americans still know relatively little about mental illness, including the toll it can take on not just and their families, but on society as a whole if left untreated.
In recognition of this reality, May has long recognized as Mental Health Month, a time set aside each year to raise awareness, debunk common misconceptions and, most importantly, eliminate the longstanding stigma facing so many Americans.
As part of our commitment to Mental Health Month, today's post will take a closer look at some eye-opening statistics relating to the prevalence of mental illness here in the U.S.
Just how many Americans suffer from mental illness?
- One in five adults -- 18.6 percent -- will endure mental illness in a given year.
- One in 25 adults -- 4.1 percent -- will endure mental illness in a given year that causes substantial interference with at least one major life activity.
- One in five kids between the ages of 13 to 18 -- 21.4 percent -- will endure mental illness in a given year.
What types of mental illnesses are more common among Americans?
- 18.1 percent experienced some sort anxiety disorder (phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc.).
- 6.9 percent experienced at least one major depressive episode over the last 12 months.
- 2.6 percent currently live with bipolar disorder.
- 1.1 percent currently live with schizophrenia.
We will continue to examine this topic throughout the coming weeks. In the meantime, it's imperative for those diagnosed with a serious mental illness that prevents them from holding any sort of meaningful employment to understand that they may be able to secure much-needed financial assistance via Social Security disability benefits and that a skilled legal professional can guide them through the entire process.