Mental illness strikes the young and often goes undiagnosed and untreated for many years.
Half of those who will ever be diagnosed with a mental disorder show signs of the disease by age 14 , three-quarters by age 25. ¹
Few get help: in the last year, about 80% of serious cases went untreated in poor countries, 35-50% of cases in richer countries. ¹
There are pervasive delays in getting treatment: the median across disorders is nearly a decade , contributing to greater severity, co-occurrence of mental illnesses, and lower success rates as people age.¹
¹ Source: Prevalence, Severity, and Unmet Need for Treatment of Mental Disorders, World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys , June 2004, Journal of the American Medical Association.
Mental disorders are associated with over 90% of all reported suicide cases. ¹
In America, more people die from suicide than cancer, homicide¹ or HIV/AIDS . In 2001, there were twice as many deaths due to suicide than from HIV/AIDS.²
Suicide claims the lives of a significant number of people with serious mental illness:
o ne in ten people suffering from schizophrenia will commit suicide 3 .
o ne in five people suffering from bipolar disorder will commit suicide 4 .
¹ Source: World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control. ² Source: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). 3 Source: Treatment Advocacy Center. 4 Source: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.
About Mental Illness Mental illness has a significant impact on human productivity…
Major depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide among persons aged five or older. ¹
Four of the ten leading causes of disability in developed countries are mental disorders (major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder). ²
Around the world, mental illness causes as many lost days of work as any physical problem like cancer , heart attack or back pain. ³
Mental illness, including suicide, accounts for over 15% of the lost years of healthy life , also known as Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) – more than all cancers and second only to all cardiovascular conditions .¹
¹Source: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). ²Source: World Health Organization. ³Source: Prevalence, Severity, and Unmet Need for Treatment of Mental Disorders, World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys , June 2004, Journal of the American Medical Association.
About Mental Illness ... and a staggering impact on the global economy.
In 1990, costs related to mental illness in the U.S. were already significant: 3
Indirect costs for mental disorders totaled $79 billion – 80% of these costs stemmed from disability; $12 billion stemmed from mortality costs.
Major depression cost an estimated $23 billion in lost workdays.
One study concluded that the aggregate yearly cost of mental disorders accounted for about 2.5% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product . 4
1 Meerding et al., 1998; Patel and Knapp, 1998. 2 For the U.K., the figure is for inpatient expense only. 3 Source: NCQA – Measuring the Quality of America’s Health Care ( www.ncqa.org ). 4 Source: The World Health Report, Rice et al., 1990
Studies from Europe 1 have estimated that expenditures on mental disorders as a proportion of all health service costs are very high – 23% in the Netherlands, and 22% in the U.K. 2
Mental diseases account for 12% of the global burden of disease , but the mental healthcare budgets of most countries are less than 1% of total healthcare expenditures. ¹
Many countries have no mental healthcare budget at all. ¹
At the philanthropic level…
Around the world, the stigma associated with mental illness creates a vicious cycle of alienation and discrimination that results in social and political isolation and inadequate treatment approaches and resources within the community.
Despite a higher death rate, mental illnesses receive a fraction of the charitable donations made to combat cancer or AIDS/HIV.
There are inadequate resources available for combating mental illness, despite its huge impact on human productivity and life. ¹ Source: World Health Organization.
People can regain their mental health, but not with medication alone.
People with mental illness are successfully participating in society through a combination of medication, community support services and relationships that ease the way from isolation to full participation in life.
Thousands of good examples exist around the world of people with mental illness not merely integrated into their communities , but playing a socially productive and economically important role . ¹
The emergence of evidenced based practices and other rehabilitation services in many countries around the world demonstrates through a growing body of evidence that people with mental illness can successfully participate in society through education, employment and other social activities. ¹
Mental illness is treatable. There is hope for people who have it. ¹ Source: World Health Organization.