About one-third of the American population is reported to have some type of mental illness each year. But keep in mind, these are only the people who are reporting their problem. A slightly lower number, one-fourth of the population, has a mental health issue that is either moderate or severe.
As we all know, mental illness reaches well beyond the person with it and touches the lives of everyone that person comes in contact with, especially family members.
The Centers for Disease Control, World Heath Organization, and National Institutes of Health have all released their findings about where we are as a nation regarding the latest mental health statistics.
There are three main types of mental health problems: anxiety disorders, major depressive disorders, and bipolar disorders.
Anxiety disorders include panic attacks, post traumatic stress disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. About 40 million people report having some type of anxiety disorder. That's about 18 percent of the total population. More women than men report them by a margin of 9 percent. However, impulse control disorder and substance abuse disorders are more common with men.
Major depressive disorder is the number one cause for disability in the United States for people ages 15-44. Nearly 15 million people report having it, which is about 7 percent of the total population.
Bipolar disorder affects about 6 million people, or about 6 percent of the total population. Half of the people with it develop it in their late teens or early adult years.
An astonishing number of people are taking anti-depressants and this is a new trend. The use of these prescription drugs skyrocketed 400 percent in just two decades, from the years 1988 to 2008. More than twice as many women than men take them. But get this, nearly one out of every four women in their 40s or 50s takes them, making that by far, the largest section of the population consuming these medications.
When it comes to suicide, more than 90 percent of all people who kill themselves have a diagnosable mental disorder, usually some type of depression or substance abuse.
What do these statistics say about us? On one hand, I'm sure we all feel heavy hearts when considering the vast numbers of people all around us who are in emotional pain. This pain knows all types of people, no matter where they fall on the socio-economic scale. However, it may reveal something encouraging: people are seeking help for their problems.
If you are experience any type of mental illness, please reach out to your doctor, city or county mental health center, your pastor, or school counselor. There is hope! With some professional guidance, you can begin to feel good again.