6.1 million U.S. adults have bipolar disorder. 2.4 million have schizophrenia. 10.2 million have concurrent mental health and addiction disorders.
Around 50% of students age 14 and older with a mental illness drop out of high school.
Approximately 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness.
Nearly 43,000 Americans commit suicide every year. Nationally, suicide is the third-leading cause of death for youth between 10 and 24. Each day an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide.
1 in 5 American adults lives with a mental illness in a given year. That’s 43.4 million people. Of these, 17.4 million have a depressive disorder.
1 in 8 women is affected by postpartum depression (PPD). Perinatal Mood Disorder (PMD)- related suicide accounts for 20% of all postpartum deaths, making PMD a leading cause of maternal, perinatal mortality.
Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. Every 62 minutes at least one person dies as a direct result from an eating disorder.
Mood disorders, such as major depression and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. between the ages of 18–44.
Adults in the U.S. living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than others.
WHAT IS MENTAL ILLNESS
Mental illnesses can be difficult to diagnose, both because they can emulate other illnesses and because their symptoms can be intangible, emotional and/or hard to describe. But they are as real as physical illnesses and, even with medication and therapy, typically last a lifetime.
In truth, “mental illness” describes a spectrum of conditions that can affect each person differently, and that often have many overlapping traits between one illness and another. Currently, most can be managed with a combination of therapy and medication—and it is our great hope that, one day, advances in medicine will eradicate the worst symptoms of these diseases.
Types of mental illnesses include:
What is Alcoholism?
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), about half of people with a mental illness abuse alcohol or other substances. The Foundation of Hope funds research that seeks to better understand the causes of substance abuse, explore its relationships to other illnesses, and find novel treatments that could, for example, help turn the tide of America’s opioid crisis.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety—irrational feelings of dread that can range from jittery nerves to crippling panic—is the most prevalent mental health concern in the United States. Even moderate anxiety can inhibit our ability to work, maintain a healthy social life, or complete basic daily routines.
It can take a measurable toll on our bodies, leading to medical conditions like high blood pressure, cardiac irregularities, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The Foundation has invested over half a million dollars into finding ways to alleviate the toll anxiety takes on nearly 1 in 5 Americans.
What is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) describes a continuum of conditions affecting a person’s behavior and ability to communicate. Some of these may be severe, inhibiting an individual’s ability to speak or perform simple tasks; other, “high-functioning” forms of autism, may be so minor as to escape notice. Most people living with autism can, with treatment, have rich and fulfilling lives; there is a growing consensus that most forms of ASD are not disabilities at all. The Foundation supports research into developmental conditions like ASD and Down Syndrome not to “cure” them, but to find treatments that help manage the most disabling symptoms.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes unusual and alternating periods of elation and depression, shifting mood, energy, and activity levels, and affects the ability of an individual to carry out day-to-day tasks.
What is Depression?
16 million American adults live with major depression. Once thought of as simply “feeling blue,” it is now better understood that the word “depression” describes a family of very real mood disorders.
While the symptoms and contexts of these illnesses vary, they can include prolonged periods of sadness or despair, detachment, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, or thoughts of suicide. Depression represents the Foundation’s single greatest area of investment, in hopes of finding treatments—and maybe even cures—for these difficult, often lifelong conditions.
What are Eating Disorders?
Often stigmatized as a sign of weakness or vanity, eating disorders have long been thought of as a character flaw of young women. In fact, eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia are clinical disorders affect as many as 30 million Americans—of all ages, races, and gender identities.
Dangerously, these diseases have the highest mortality of any mental illness: they kill one person every hour. It is absolutely vital that we invest in early diagnosis and treatment, and strive to identify the genetic markers that tell us who may be most vulnerable.
• National Institute of Mental Health Eating Disorder Facts
• National Alliance on Mental Illness Eating Disorder Facts
• UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders
• Centers, Academies, and Other Information for Eating Disorders
• How to Know If You Have an Eating Disorder: Dr. Bulik on WUNC’s The State of Things
• Eating Disorders Affect Women Over 50 Too: Dr. Bulik on CBS This Morning
What are Genetics?
Genetics is the study of heredity, and how genes influence health, behavior, and physical appearance. By studying genetics, we can explore the role genes play in behavioral outcomes and how they put us at risk for disorders such as anxiety and depression.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder isn’t just a soldier’s disease. This psychiatric condition can develop in anyone who has survived or witnessed a traumatic event like a life-threatening accident, a natural disaster, or a violent assault—and the symptoms may not manifest until years later. Sufferers may experience severe anxiety or uncontrollable thoughts of reliving the event that terrified them; these symptoms can be ongoing, or triggered by something specific.
• National Institute of Mental Health PTSD Facts
• UNC Team Gives Military Veterans Tools to Help Themselves
• Specific PTSD symptoms related to anger and aggressiveness among Iraq/Afghanistan veterans (2010 study)
• For Returning Vets, Challenges on the Homefront: Radio Interview on WUNC
• PTSD Support at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that inhibits a person’s ability to think clearly, recognize reality, interact with others, and manage emotions. Symptoms can include hallucinations, delusions, hearing voices, flat emotional expression, and disorganized or obsessive thinking.
While the disease isn’t common, it still affects 3.2 million Americans, and can have devastating consequences for a sufferer’s ability to keep a job or maintain interpersonal relationships. Despite its relative lack of prevalence, its severity and high mortality rate makes schizophrenia the Foundation’s second most highly funded area of study, after depression.
What are Women’s Mood Disorders?
Women’s Mood Disorders encompass perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and menstrual-related mood disorders. These disorders include Depression during Pregnancy, Postpartum Depression (PPD), Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), Perimenopausal Depression.In 2018 alone, 12.8% of U.S. mothers reported experiencing postpartum depression. That’s 1 in 8 mothers. But that statistic does not take into account undiagnosed PPD, which is estimated to put the number closer to 20% of moms, or 1 in 5.
WE ALL HAVE A STAKE IN THIS
It may not be you, but it’s someone you know. Someone you love.
The Foundation of Hope was formed by a family who knew that even those who don’t live with a mental illness can still suffer because of one. We need to change the conversation about these illnesses.
The cost to our relationships, our time and effort, is immeasurable.