Fact Sheets

Facts About the Prevalence of Mental Illness

Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — experience a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people.

One in 10 children have a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.

One in four families has at least one member with a mental disorder. 

Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion — about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 people experience a serious mental illness.

Many people experience more than one mental disorder at a given time (known as comorbidity). Nearly half (45 percent) of those with any mental disorder meet criteria for 2 or more disorders, with the severity of mental illness strongly related to comorbidity