It’s very common to feel like we’re alone when we’re struggling with something, as if we are the only one struggling with something like it. The thing is, you’re not alone in feeling that way! Whether you have a mental illness or not, everyone struggles with things from time to time. It’s so important to recognize that you’re not alone in how you feel, because there are millions of others on this Earth who are dealing with something similar to what you’re going through. Unfortunately, suffering from a mental illness is extremely common. In fact, 1 in 5 adults in the United States experiences a mental illness. That’s over 46 million people! Let me repeat that for you - 46 million American adults are living their lives with a mental illness. You are most definitely not the only one having a hard time with something.
To break it down, here are some facts and statistics regarding prevalence rates of mental illnesses:
- 16 million Americans, or 6.5% of adults live with depression.
- An estimated 17.3 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in their lifetime. This is 7.1% of all U.S. adults.
- 42 millions American adults experience anxiety disorders. That’s 20% of American adults!
1 in 100 American adults lives with schizophrenia, and 2 out of 100 live with bipolar disorder.
- Over 30 million Americans suffer from eating disorders.
- 20% of young people, ages 13-18, live with a mental illness. The most common disorders for young people are mood disorders, conduct disorders, and anxiety disorders.
- 3.7% of the U.S. population reported suicidal thoughts within the last year. Suicide is also the 10th leading cause of death in America.
- LGBTQ adults are more than twice as likely to experience a mental illness than heterosexual adults.
Focusing on statistics can be great to learn more about how common mental illnesses are, but another way we can let others know that they’re not alone is by being open about our own experiences and struggles. By sharing your thoughts with others, you’re opening up the opportunity for your friend to say, “me too”, and speak about their struggles. I’ve learned that I feel less alone when I’m being candid about how I feel, because the response is often that the other person can relate. Everyone has something that they’re going through, and it’s very helpful to hear that you’re not the only one going through something like this. So, I would like to encourage you to open up to someone close to you, and be there for your friends when they come to you.
Thanks for reading,
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