While the topic of mental illness has been in the headlines recently with the deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, more often than not, it’s swept under the rug and ignored. Mental disorders affect peoples’ thinking, mood, and feelings, and depending on the severity, can be debilitating for their quality of life. Every person experiences it differently, and there’s a wide array of mental illnesses, like anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. Just like the variety of conditions, there’s also no one easy way to treat mental illness. It can be a lifelong journey for some. Still, as we’ll soon discover, people who seek out and receive treatment are much better off than those that don’t. We think after hearing these 25 Shocking Mental Illness Facts You Won’t Believe, you’ll find this a problem we can no longer ignore.
If you or someone you know struggles with mental illness and has had suicidal thoughts, seek help. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline provides 24/7 free and confidential emotional support: 1-800-273-8255
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Of the mental illnesses, anxiety disorders rank the highest in the United States with 40 million adults (18.1% of the population) suffering from them.
In the United States, mental disorders have a higher prevalence in the southern states in comparison to the rest of the country. For example, depression estimates in Mississippi were 13.7% in contrast to North Dakota's 4.3%.
Many stigmas stir up fears and make others look down on people with mental illness for being both dangerous and irresponsible. Often, others pin people with mental disorders as having made bad choices.
Worldwide, human rights violations are rampant against people with mental illness, including unwanted restraint, denial of basic needs, and lack of privacy. Few countries have laws put in place to protect them.
According to the World Health Organization, around 20% of the children in the world have a mental illness or disorder. Even more troubling, most low to middle income countries only have one psychiatrist for every 1 to 4 million people.
According to a study published in EMBO Reports, the total direct and indirect economic cost of mental illness was $2.5 trillion in 2010. Notably, the direct costs, such as getting actual healthcare treatment, were significantly lower at $0.8 trillion than the indirect costs which were $1.7 trillion.
Increasing the availability of mental health services isn't as costly as one might think. According to WHO, low to middle income countries increasing their spending to $2 to $4 dollars per capita is all that's needed.
Despite the increasing need for mental illness care, health insurance companies continue to skimp on coverage according to a recent study by Milliman, a risk management and health care consulting company, forcing many individuals to pay out of pocket.
In the United States, rather than treating the mentally ill, we put them in prison instead. A 2016 study found that in every U.S. county with a jail and psychiatric facility, a greater number of mentally ill adults were found in jail rather than the psychiatric facility.
Untreated mental illness can be devastating to families, causing a spiral down effect that only gets worse and more challenging. Children are often isolated from their peers due to stigma, and struggling parents may be unemployed for long stretches of time.
The benefits of treating mental illness greatly outweigh the costs of ignoring it. According to a recent study, for every dollar spent on treating mental disorders the return on investment could be fourfold.