10 Stats That Prove Mental Health Treatment Needs More Attention

Knowledge is power.
Lisa Kimmell via Getty Images

Finally getting into treatment for a mental health disorder can be life changing.

Experts overwhelmingly agree that getting help is the best way to manage a mental illness. Yet research shows the negative attitudes about mental health, both self-imposed and from others, can prevent people from seeking support. Not to mention the fact that data shows the access to this kind of care is becoming increasingly more difficult, specifically in rural areas.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we’re taking the opportunity to focus on treatment, no matter what that means to you. It could be medication, lifestyle changes, therapy or all of the above. Part of that endeavor is knowing just how dire mental health care is in the first place.

Below are some stats everyone should know about the way we treat mental health conditions today. If anything, the data is proof this subject needs way more attention.

1 in 5

The number of American adults who will be diagnosed with a mental health disorder in a given year.

300 Million

The number of people globally who have depression, according to the World Health Organization. The prevalence of the condition has increased 18 percent in the last decade.

56 Percent

The percentage of the U.S. adults with a mental health condition who do not receive proper treatment, according to a 2016 Mental Health America report. The WHO also found recently that nearly half of people globally with depression do not get medical care.

6 in 10

The number of young people in the U.S. with major depression who will not receive any treatment, according to the Mental Health America report.

9.5 Percent

The percentage of people surveyed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2014 who did not have health insurance that provided access to a psychiatrist or counselor. The data was analyzed by New York University researchers in a recent study on serious psychological distress and access to care.

10 Percent

The percentage of people living with a mental health issue in 2014 who could not afford to pay for necessary psychiatric medications, according to the CDC numbers analyzed by NYU. This is a rise from 8.7 percent in 2006, which was the last time data was collected from the same survey.

24 Percent

The rate of increase in suicides in a 15 year period, according to 2016 data from the CDC (which is separate from NYU’s study). Those who die by suicide are often dealing with undiagnosed, untreated or under-treated mental health issues.


The number of people per one mental health worker in Alabama. According to the Mental Health America report, rural areas in states like Alabama and Nevada have a severe shortage of behavioral health professionals.

1 in 6

The number of people who have taken a prescribed psychiatric drug, such as an antidepressant, at least once, according to a 2016 study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

25 Percent

The percentage of people living with a mental health issue who feel like others are caring or sympathetic about their condition, as noted by the CDC. That implies a majority of people with a mental illness may feel shamed or judged. As mentioned above, studies show stigma is a very real problem and stands in the way of people seeking treatment.

It’s clear we have a long way to go to rectify this problem. Looking for a few places to start? Here’s an explainer that showcases the power of treatment and this guide breaks down ways to find afford about therapy. Additionally, check out how your state ranks when it comes to mental health services in this report.

Getting treatment should be embraced, not denied. It’s time to do better ― with each other and as a country.

As part of May’s Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re focusing on treatment and the stigma around getting help. Check out our coverage here and share your story at strongertogether@huffingtonpost.com.

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