Background on Mental Health

According to the American Psychiatric Association, an estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older (about 1 in 4 adults) suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year which interferes with employment, school attendance, or daily life.

No one is immune from mental illness. Any person - regardless of age, economic status, or race - can develop a mental illness. Depression affects 14.8 million Americans, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. adult population every year. The effects of mental illness on society are far-reaching: in financial terms, the direct and indirect costs of mental and substance-abuse disorders total more than $273 billion per year. Even more devastating are the effects of mental illness on families. More than 90 percent of people who commit suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder, most commonly a depressive disorder or a substance abuse disorder. Mental illness results in lost employment, reduced productivity, criminal activity, and vehicular accidents. Additionally, there is a strong correlation between mental illness and homelessness, with approximately 20 to 25 percent of the single adult homeless population suffering from some form of severe and persistent mental illness. Mental illness is clearly an issue that deserves and requires our attention.