Mental Health in America

Mental Health Disorder Statistics in the United States

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), as many as 1 in 5 adults in the United States experience mental illness. An estimated 1 in 20 adults experience “serious mental illness.” Unfortunately, many wait years to seek professional care and some never do. NAMI reports that the average delay between mental health symptoms and treatment is 11 years. The takeaway is that millions of people in the country experience some form of mental health issue, but few people seek treatment.

Mental health statistics in American adults according to NAMI:

  • 1% suffer from schizophrenia;
  • 19% have diagnosable anxiety disorders;
  • 4% experience post-traumatic stress disorder;
  • 3% have bipolar disorder;
  • 4% have a dual diagnosis;
  • 1% experience obsessive-compulsive disorder;
  • 8% suffer from depression; and
  • 1% have a borderline personality disorder.

Not Only Adults

It is not only adults that experience mental illness. NAMI research suggests that 17% of individuals 6-17 years old have a mental health disorder. Youth with diagnosable mental health disorders are more likely to be incarcerated. Studies show that as many as 70% of “youth in the juvenile justice system have a diagnosable mental health condition.” Furthermore, youth in juvenile detention are 10x more likely to suffer from psychosis.

Mental Health and Crime

Both juveniles and adults with mental illness are overrepresented in America’s criminal justice system. Data indicates that around “2 in 5 people who are incarcerated have a history of mental illness.” Nearly ⅔ of female inmates report a history of mental illness and nearly 4,000 people who are in solitary confinement have a serious mental illness.

California, recognizing the problem, has implemented a mental health diversion option for individuals with a diagnosable mental health disorder who have committed a crime. Not all crimes or mental health conditions are eligible. It is important to discuss your case with your attorney to determine eligibility, but it is important to know that there are options for treatment and that you are not alone.