Is Mental Illness on The Rise?| Banyan Mental Health
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Is Mental Illness on The Rise?


Mental illness is on the rise among adolescents and young adults, and factors like social media may be the leading cause.

According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, the rates of mood disorders and suicide-related events have significantly increased in the last decade within these age groups, especially among females and the wealthy.1 As a mental health facility in Boca Raton, we’re concerned over the alarmingly high prevalence of mental illness in the United States. To shed more light on the subject and advocate for the importance of mental health care, we’re sharing some information on the state of mental health in the nation.

How Many People in The U.S. Have A Mental Illness?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five U.S. adults had a mental illness in 2019 (51.5 million people). Mental illness is a broad term used to describe different conditions that vary in severity. Mental disorders fall into two major categories: any mental illness (AMI) or serious mental illness (SMI). AMI refers to a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder ranging from no mental impairment to severe impairment. SMI includes any mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder that causes severe functional impairment that can interfere with or limit a person’s quality of life.

The most common mental illnesses in the U.S. include:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Eating disorders

An untreated mental disorder can significantly diminish a person’s quality of life. If you or someone you know suffers from depression, anxiety, OCD, or any other mental illness, we can help. Banyan Mental Health offers a wide range of program options, including a residential mental health program that allows patients to complete treatment in the comfort of our facility.

Statistics of Mental Illness in the United States

The state of mental health in America continues to worsen, as witnessed by the millions of people who suffer from a mental disorder every year. Below are some statistics that illustrate the rise of mental illness in the nation.

  • Between 2017 and 2018, 19% of adults experienced a mental illness, an increase of 1.5 million adults with mental illnesses from the previous year.2
  • Rates of depression increased by 52% between 2005 and 2017 among adolescents aged 12 to 17 years old.3
  • Rates of depression increased by 63% between 2009 and 2017 in young adults aged 18 to 25 years old.3
  • The rate of suicide-related thoughts and outcomes increased by 47% from 2008 to 2017 among young adults.3
  • In 2019, there was an estimated 51.5 million adults (20.6%) aged 18 and older in the U.S. with AMI.4
  • AMI was higher among U.S. females (24.5%) than males (16.3%) in 2019.4
  • Young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 had the highest prevalence of AMI (29.4%) compared to adults between the ages of 26 to 49 years (25%) and 50 and older (14.1%).4
  • 13.1 million U.S. adults aged 18 and older had an SMI in 2019, making up 5.2% of all U.S. adults.4
  • SMI was high among U.S. females (6.5%) than males (3.9%) in 2019.4
  • In 2019, SMI was more prevalent among adults aged 18 to 25 years (8.6%) compared to adults aged 26 to 49 years (6.8%) and those aged 50 and older (2.9%) in 2019.4

Why is Mental Illness on the Rise?

A possible contributing factor in the nation’s rise in mental illness could be the increasing use of social media. Online interaction has taken precedence over face-to-face communication, perpetuating isolation and loneliness. Physical appearance is also heavily stressed on social media and other online platforms. Growing trends on apps like Instagram and TikTok influence users to look and dress a certain way. General comparisons and unrealistic expectations of physical appearance often affect users, particularly females users, which can contribute to depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Those who are frequently online are also more likely to experience cyber-bullying, which is linked to depression and suicidal behaviors. Considering the constant changes in and trends introduced on online social platforms, it’s no wonder why the number of adults between the ages of 18 and 25 who experienced psychological distress increased between 2008 and 2017 (71%).1

The many stigmas and misconceptions about mental illness often discourage people with mental disorders from seeking treatment. Our mental health facility in Florida has helped numerous adults regain their mental health in a judgment-free zone. We can help you or a loved one overcome mental illness and learn how to live a happy life. Call us now at 888-280-4763 for more information about our mental health treatment programs in Boca.

Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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