Some Interesting Facts

  • Mental illnesses (e.g., depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia) are more widespread than most people realize. According to SAMHSA, in 2005 there were an estimated 24.6 million adults age 18 or older who experienced serious psychological distress (SPD), which is highly correlated with serious mental illness. Almost every family in America is affected by someone with a mental illness.
  • Among 18- to 25-year-olds, the prevalence of SPD is high (18.6% for 18-25 vs. 11.3% for all adults 18+), yet this age group shows the lowest rate of help-seeking behaviors.
  • Mental illness can happen to anybody regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, or background.
  • Nearly 1 out of 5 persons 18-24 reports having a mental illness.
  • Major depression and anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health problems experienced by young adults, who experience most serious mental illnesses at a higher rate than the general population.
  • The incidence of eating disorders among 18- to 24-year-olds was more than twice as prevalent than among all ages.
  • One of the main reasons why people don’t seek help is because of the stigma associated with mental illness. Stigma is a big barrier to recovery.
  • People with a mental illness need to be treated with respect, compassion, and empathy just as anyone with any other serious but treatable condition.
  • Almost two-thirds of 18- to 24-year-olds know someone with depression or alcoholism and more than 40 percent of the 18- to 24-year-olds know others with a drug addiction.
  • Young adults are more likely than the general population to know someone with a mental illness.
  • Targeting young adults with public education programs is likely to have a broader impact on reducing stigma and discrimination.

We want to enliven hope and success.

  • Mental illness is treatable. There are more treatments, strategies, and community support systems available than ever before, including medication, rehabilitation, psychotherapy, group therapy, self-help, or a combination of these.
  • People with mental illness can and do recover. Studies show that most people with mental illnesses get better, and many recover completely.
  • Mental health recovery is a journey of healing and transformation. It enables a person with a mental health problem to live a meaningful life, in a community of his or her choice, while striving to achieve his or her full potential.
  • Those with mental health conditions in this age group have a high potential to minimize future disability if social acceptance is broadened and they receive the right support.
  • People with mental illnesses are good employees. Studies by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Alliance to the Mentally Ill (NAMI) show that there are no differences in productivity when people with mental illness are compared with other employees.
  • Two-thirds of Americans believe that treatment and support can help people with mental illnesses lead normal lives.
  • Only 1 in 5 persons surveyed feels that persons with mental illness are dangerous to others.
  • Everyone can do something to help a person with mental illness…like avoiding the use of “label words,” showing kindness and respect, or helping to eliminate discrimination against housing, employment, or education.
  • One of the most important factors in recovery is the understanding and acceptance of friends. Friends can make a difference by offering reassurance, companionship, and emotional strength.
  • The emotional and psychological aspects of mental illness make supportive friends and family even more important to a person’s recovery.
  • Friends can express an interest and concern for people with a mental illness by asking questions, listening to ideas, and being responsive.
  • Friends can help break down the stigma and encourage society to treat mental illness like any other healthcare condition.
  • Friends can dismiss any preconceived notions about mental illness and embrace a more helpful way of relating to people.

Source: National Mental Health Anti-Stigma Campaign: What a Difference a Friend Makes

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