Few people realize that psychological disorders are very common. Unfortunately, misconceptions about them are also common—partly due to age-old prejudices and partly because people who have dealt with mental illness often don’t feel comfortable talking openly about it. The following statistics provide a snapshot of mental illness in the United States:

  • More than a quarter of Americans will suffer from a psychological or substance abuse disorder this year.
  • About one in four Americans will suffer with a diagnosable mental illness in his or her lifetime.
  • More than 5 percent of Americans have a psychological disorder that interferes with daily functioning, and 2.6 percent suffer from a severe and persistent psychological disorder.
  • Rates of mental illness are about the same for adults as for children and teens.
  • Women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with depression, but men are more likely to attempt suicide.
  • Fewer than half of those who need treatment for mental illness actually get the help, and most treatment they receive does not meet expert guidelines.
  • Serious psychological disorders cost the United States nearly $200 billion in lost wages.
  • Depression and other psychological disorders increase the likelihood of other serious medical conditions including heart disease.
  • Left untreated, depression is as costly to the U.S. economy as heart disease.
  • Mental health conditions are the second leading cause of U.S. workplace absenteeism.
  • Sales of antipsychotic drugs for psychological conditions topped $25 billion in 2008.
  • 170 million prescriptions for antidepressants were filled in 2005.
  • The aggregate cost of mental disorders in the 1990s was about 2.5 percent of the U.S. gross national product.

Last Reviewed: June 14, 2010