2021 Mental Health Statistics

Key statistics + insights

  • 1 in 5 Americans suffers from a mental illness (NIMH).
  • Anxiety disorders are the highest reported mental health issue in the US with 42.5 million Americans claiming to suffer from this illness. (Mental Health America).
  • Mental illnesses start showing symptoms by age 14 (National Alliance on Mental Illness),
  • About 1 in 4 American adults suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, and one in 10 will suffer from a depressive illness, such as major depression or bipolar disorder (Johns Hopkins).
  • Mental health crises account for 60 million visits to primary care and 6 million ER visits annually. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention),
  • 41 percent of Americans dealt with an untreated mental illness. (Mental Health First Aid).
  • 10.7% of the world suffers from some form of mental illness. (Our World in Data).
  • 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety (Anxiety and Depression Association of America).

 

Table of contents

  1. Mental health statistics in 2021
  2. Mental health statistics for college students
  3. Mental health statistics for student-athletes
  4. Mental health statistics for teens
  5. Mental health statistics for veterans
  6. Mental health statistics for the LGBTQIA+ community
  7. Life insurance and mental health claims
  8. FAQs about mental illness

 

2021 mental health statistics

The following data comes from the National Institute of Mental Health, Mental Health America, National Alliance on Mental Illness, John Hopkins Medicine, the Center for Disease Control, and Our World in Data.

  • 1 in 5 Americans suffers from a mental illness.
  • Almost 6 in 10 people with mental illness get no treatment or medication.
  • In 2019, an estimated 47.6 million adults (19% of the country) had a mental illness, but only 43% received any kind of mental health care.
  • More than 40,000 Americans die annually from suicide.
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It is the second leading cause of death for ages 44 and under and the fifth leading cause of death for ages 45 – 54. For every woman who dies by suicide, four men die by suicide, but women are 3x more likely to attempt suicide. 
  • Mental health illness rates were significantly higher for adolescents (about 50%) and young adults (about 30%).
  • Anxiety disorders are the highest reported mental health issue in the U.S. with 42.5 million Americans suffering from this illness.
  • Women experience depression at roughly twice the rate of men.
  • Serious mental illness costs the country more than $190 billion in lost earnings every year.
  • An estimated 26% of Americans ages 18 and older suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder.
  • Almost half of Americans will experience an episode of mental illness in their lives.
  • There are 4.5 million children in the United States diagnosed and living with anxiety.
  • ADHD, behavior problems, anxiety, and depression are the most common mental disorders affecting children.
  • 322 million people worldwide live with depression
  • Almost 800 million people suffer from mental health disorders worldwide.

 

College student: mental health statistics

Additional data on the statistics below can be found at Chardon State College, ActiveMinds, American Psychological Association, CollegeStats.org, and Higher Ed Today.

  • More than 25 percent of college students have been diagnosed or treated by a professional for a mental illness
  • 34.2% of students with a mental health condition said their college did not know about their crisis.
  • 64% of students are no more pursuing their college due to mental health issues.
  • 73% of college students with mental health conditions have experienced, on campus, a mental health crisis.
  • Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 67% of college students who felt suicidal reported telling a friend.
  • 21.6% of college students said depression impacted their studies.
  • 24.5% of college students are taking some form of antidepressants, anti-anxiety and mood stabilizers, such as Prozac, Zoloft or Lamotrigine.
  • 95% of college counselors report that mental health concern is growing on their campus.
  • 41% of college counselors reported anxiety disorders as the most frequent disorder they see among their patients.
  • 50% of college students reported their mental health to be below average or poor.
  • 71% of students say they’d use tele-mental health services at their school if they had access.
  • 72% of 400 university presidents reported in a 2019 American Council on Education survey that they were spending more funds now on mental health
  • The primary causes of mental health issues in college students are not necessarily surprising:
    • Stress over grades
    • Financial anxiety
    • Overworked
    • Sedentary lifestyles
    • Biological and genetic causes
    • Traumatic events including sexual assault and racism

 

Student athlete mental health statistics

The following data comes from Athletes for Hope, Athlete Network, Global Sports Matter, and Inside Higher Education.

  • 35% of elite athletes suffer from a mental health crisis.
  • 25% of college athletes struggle with mental illness and 10-15% of all athletes experience psychological issues severe enough to warrant counseling.
  • Studies show that about 6.3% of all student-athletes show signs and symptoms of depression.
  • A 2016 study conducted by researchers at Drexel University and Kean University found that nearly one out of every four Division I student-athletes show “clinically relevant” symptoms of depression. 

 

Teen depression statistics

More information on the following statistics can be found at the World Health Organization, Discovery Mood, MedicineNet, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the organization I Need a LightHouse. 

  • 20% of all teens suffer from depression before they reach adulthood.
  • All mental health problems begin by age 14, and most cases are undetected and untreated. 
  • Nearly only 30% of teens with depression are being treated for it.
  • An adolescent dies from suicide every 100 minutes, making it the third leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 24.
  • Female teens develop depression twice as often as their male counterparts.
  • Mental illness accounts for 13 percent of the world’s disease burden.
  • Acne increases the risk of teen depression.
  • An estimated 12.8 percent of adolescents in the U.S. experience at least one episode of major depression
  • 36% of young girls reported being extremely anxious daily.
  • Teen depression has increased 59% since 2007. 
  • Those teens who suffer from depression also have a 30% chance of developing a drug problem later in life.

 

Veteran mental health statistics

The following statistics can be found at the National Council for Behavioral Health, the National Veterans Foundation, the U.S Department of Veteran Affairs, and Hill & Ponton Disability Attorneys. 

  • About 30% of active-duty and military personnel deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from mental illness
  • 22 veterans who commit suicide every day.
  • 30% of military personnel deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan have mental health conditions
  • Fewer than half of returning veterans in need of mental health treatment receive it.
  • Over 40% of all veterans struggle with their mental health or substance abuse.
  • About 10% of veterans in the United States report elevated levels of anxiety.
  • 1.7 million U.S. veterans received treatment in a veteran affairs mental health specialty program.
  • Almost 30% of veterans report a diagnosis of at least one mental health disorder following their return to civilian life.
  • Over 20% of veterans return home with Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD.
  • A little over 77% of service members in active duty hospitalized for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder have comorbidities.
  • 897,000 (39%) of Iraq/Afghanistan veterans likely suffer from alcohol abuse. 

 

LGBTQIA+ mental health

For further research, deeper context for the following statistics can be found at the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and StoneWall.org. 

  • LGBTQ individuals are three times more likely to experience a mental health condition. 
  • Folks within the queer group are greater than twice as likely to experience a mental health crisis than heterosexual adults.
  • Estimates have 20-30% of LGBTQ individuals abusing substances.
  • Bisexual women and transgender women of color are among the groups more likely to experience violence.
  • LGBTQ+ teens are six times more likely to experience symptoms of depression than non-LGBTQ+ identifying teens. 
  • 75% of trans people report being a victim of a hate crime.
  • 20% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual employees say they have experienced verbal bullying.
  • 1 in 3 LGBTQ staff has hidden that they are LGBTQ at work for fear of discrimination.
  • Almost 1 in 5 said they had been the target of negative comments or conduct from colleagues.

 

Does mental health affect life insurance?

Life insurance guarantees your loved ones a safety net in the event of your death, which is especially important to prepare for if you have financial dependents. Life insurance is essentially a contract between you and an insurance company that promises a monetary payout to designated beneficiaries — often family members — after you pass away. As long as you’ve paid your premiums and the policy is active upon your death, your beneficiaries will be paid.

As mental illness, like other life-long diseases, can affect your ability to purchase life insurance, as well as the cost of the premium. Ultimately, your coverage potential depends on your total medical history and what's in the medical records. Insurance carriers are very sensitive about past suicide attempts, unless it was a single occurrence. However, if the attempt was more than five years ago, then there may be an opportunity to work with some carriers to find coverage.

In the end, who covers you and how much you pay comes down to the control over your disease. If you are actively treating your condition and you have medical documentation of these treatments, you stand a much better chance of finding a good life insurance policy. That being said, if you experience the occasional mental health episode (postpartum depression, death of a loved one, etc.), then you shouldn't worry. 

If you are denied coverage, consider simplified issue life insurance, which does not require a medical exam. You might also try guaranteed issue life insurance, which does not require a medical exam or medical questions. Reach out to your employer and see what life insurance options are available to you.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about mental health statistics

 

Question: What percentage of the population suffers from mental illness?

Answer: According to John Hopkins Medicine, an estimated 26% of Americans ages 18 and older —  about 1 in 4 adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental illness each year.

 

How does social media affect mental health?

Answer: According to the National Center for Health Research, 13% of kids ages 12-17 report depression, and 32% report anxiety after reviewing their social media. 

 

Question: How many deaths are caused by mental health?

Answer: More than 40,000 Americans die annually from suicide.

 

Question: What are the statistics for mental health?

Answer: According to the NIMH, 1 in 5 Americans suffer from a mental illness.



Taylor Covington
Taylor CovingtonContent Researcher

An in-house qualitative researcher for The Zebra, Taylor collects, organizes, and analyzes data to shine a light on trends in the insurance industry and beyond. Taylor's data studies have been cited by Yahoo Finance, The Atlantic, MSN, PolicyAdvice, Fox Business, The Simple Dollar, Hippo Insurance, and Bloomberg.

In her hometown of Austin, Texas, she can be found reading at Half Price Books or eating the world's greatest pizza at Via 313.