Reminders for Mental Health Awareness Month

May 1, 2020

Each year, millions of people across the U.S. are affected by mental health issues. Despite this, the topic remains taboo, and there's not a lot of attention directed at mental wellness. However, mental health advocates across the nation work to change this everyday by shedding light on the issue. Mental Health Awareness Month, which occurs every May, offers an additional opportunity to focus on this importance topic.


The Statistics:

  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year.
  • 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34.
  • People with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population. People with serious mental illness are nearly twice as likely to develop these conditions.
  • 19.3% of U.S. adults with mental illness also experienced a substance use disorder in 2018 (9.2 million individuals).
  • The rate of unemployment is higher among U.S. adults who have mental illness (5.8%) compared to those who do not (3.6%).
  • High school students with significant symptoms of depression are more than twice as likely to drop out compared to their peers.
  • At least 8.4 million people in the U.S. provide care to an adult with a mental or emotional health issue.
  • Caregivers of adults with mental or emotional health issues spend an average of 32 hours per week providing unpaid care.
  • Mental illness and substance use disorders are involved in 1 out of every 8 emergency department visits by a U.S. adult (estimated 12 million visits).
  • Mood disorders are the most common cause of hospitalization for all people in the U.S. under age 45 (after excluding hospitalization relating to pregnancy and birth).
  • Across the U.S. economy, serious mental illness causes $193.2 billion in lost earnings each year.
  • 20.1% of people experiencing homelessness in the U.S. have a serious mental health condition.
  • 37% of adults incarcerated in the state and federal prison system have a diagnosed mental illness.
  • 70.4% of youth in the juvenile justice system have a diagnosed mental illness.
  • 41% of Veteran’s Health Administration patients have a diagnosed mental illness or substance use disorder.
  • The overall suicide rate in the U.S. has increased by 31% since 2001.

Common Warning Signs of Mental Health Illness:

  • Feeling very sad or withdrawn for an extended period of time
  • Trying to harm or end one's life
  • Severe or out of control behavior that causes harm
  • Sudden fear for no reason
  • Physical discomfort 
  • Significant weight loss
  • Seeing, hearing or believing things that aren't real
  • Excessive alcohol/drug use
  • Drastic mood/behavior changes

Bottom line, it's more than okay to talk about mental health. 

The more we talk about mental health, the higher chance we have of saving more lives. It's important to take steps to educate yourself and others. Consider talking with a health care professional or mental health provider about your own mental health. Additionally, if you suspect that someone you know is experiencing a mental health issue, reach out for help. 


To schedule an appointment with one of our licensed mental health providers, please call (308) 210-8487 or email [email protected]

*Statistics provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness