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Half of all Americans affected by mental illness during their life (USA)

September 8, 2011

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) released a report revealing that almost 50 per cent of American adults will experience some kind of mental illness during their lifetime. The authors are quick to note that this finding should not be interpreted that half of all American adults have mental illness at any given point in time.

The findings of the CDC report show that mental illness is a major public health issue, not only as a challenge in itself, but also as a chronic problem associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer. They also note that anxiety disorders are as common as depression in the American population.

The authors urge:

  • Expanded surveillance activities to monitor and prevent mental illness
  • Activities that transform surveillance information into public health action
  • National and state-level surveillance should be broadened to include a wider range of psychiatric conditions, including anxiety disorders

To read the CDC report, “U.S. Adult Mental Illness Surveillance Report”, visit

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