Facing Mental Illness

Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functions. Mental illnesses affect tens of millions of people each year, only a fraction of whom receive treatment.

Who Suffers From Mental illness?

Types of Mental illnesses

General anxiety

Symptoms include constant worrying or obsession, restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, shortness of breath and rapid heartbeat.

Major depression

Symptoms include feelings of sadness, irritability or frustration, reduced sex drive, insomnia or excessive sleeping, changes in appetite, agitation, crying spells and unexplained physical problems, such as back pains or headaches.

Bipolar disorder

Causes mood swings that range from the lows of depression to the highs of mania. Mood shifts may occur only a few times a year or as often as several times a day.


Occurs equally in men and women, with symptoms including delusions, hallucinations, thought disorder and disorganized behavior.

Mental Illness By The Numbers

Average Ages of Mental Illness Diagnosis





Adolescents With Mental Illness

More than 90% of children and adolescents who commit suicide have a mental disorder.

Getting Treatment

The economic cost of untreated mental illness is more than $100 billion annually in the United States. This money is spent on addiction treatment, incarceration, homeless shelters and other preventable difficulties, like lost productivity at work.

Only 4.1% of Americans with a mental disorder receive treatment; 13.4% of that treatment s minimally adequate.

Although women experience serious mental illness at roughly twice the rate of men, they are 50% less likely to seek treatment.

Less than 1/3 of adults with a diagnosable mental disorder receive any mental health services in a given year.

70% to 90% of those who receive pharmacological and psychological treatment have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life.

Treatment Success Rates


USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Phone Number: 877-700-4679
Email Address: sswvac@msw.usc.edu


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