Skip to primary content
Skip to main menu
Skip to section menu (if applicable)

National survey shows 1 in 5 Americans experience mental illness (USA)

January 26, 2012

According to the US government’s latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately one in five American adults have experienced mental illness in the past year; this equates to 45.9 million people.

The survey, published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHAS), also found that mental illness among youth was more than double the rate for people aged 50 years and older.

The economic impact of mental illness in the USA has been estimated at $300 billion for the year 2002. The World Health Organization states that mental illness “accounts for more disability than any other group of illnesses, including heart disease and cancer” in developed countries.

The NSDUH also found in the past year that:

  • Adult women experienced mental illness more than adult men
  • Substance abuse is higher amongst people with mental illness
  • Five per cent of the US population suffered a mental illness that was serious enough to impair or limit their major life activities

In a press release, SAMHAS emphasized the need for continuing efforts in monitoring, preventing and treating mental illness, as well as promotion of mental health services. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) corroborated the findings of the report, stating that mental illness is an important public health problem which negatively impacts the total health of individuals.

To read the online summary of this survey by Medical News Today, go to

Comments are closed.