Nearly one in five adult Americans experienced mental illness in 2013

Thursday, November 20, 2014

9.3 million Americans had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year

A new report finds that 43.8 million adults (age 18 or older) experienced a diagnosable mental illness in 2013. The report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also finds that 10 million adults experienced a serious mental illness and 15.7 million adults experienced a major depressive episode in 2013. These results are consistent with 2012 findings.

The SAMHSA report indicates that 9.3 million American adults (3.9 percent) had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year – 2.7 million (1.1 percent) made suicide plans and 1.3 million (0.6 percent) attempted suicide. These levels were also comparable to last year’s findings.

In 2013, major depressive episodes affected approximately one in ten (2.6 million) youth between the ages of 12 to 17. But only 38.1 percent of youths experiencing a past year major depressive episode received treatment for depression. In the same year, about 34.6 million adults (14.6 percent of adults) received mental health care (including inpatient care, outpatient care, and prescription medication) – comparable to last year’s level, but greater than the percentages from 2002 to 2011 (ranging from 12.8 percent to 13.8 percent). According to the new report, 44.7 percent of adults with any mental illness and 68.5 percent of adults with serious mental illness received mental health services.

The new findings come from SAMHSA’s 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.  In the survey, mental illness among adults aged 18 or older is defined as having had a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder (excluding developmental and substance use disorders) in the past year based on criteria specified in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), published by the American Psychiatric Association.

In this survey, serious mental illness is defined as mental illness that resulted in serious functional impairment, which substantially interfered with or limited one or more major life activities. A major depressive episode is defined as a period of at least two weeks when a person experienced a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities and had at least four of seven additional symptoms reflecting the criteria as described in DSM-IV.

“It is a serious issue that millions of Americans are needlessly affected by mental illness when they can get effective treatment to restore their well-being,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “Now more than ever, people can get the help they need to recover from mental disorders and live full, active lives – they just need to take the first step and seek help.”
 
Those seeking help for mental and/or substance use disorders have many resources to turn to for help. For example, SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator: http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/ or 1-800 662-HELP (4357) can provide immediate round-the-clock information on treatment programs for mental and/or substance use disorders throughout the nation.

SAMHSA’s evidence-based recovery tool – Taking Action: A Mental Health Recovery Self-Help Educational Program – can also help health care officials, providers, and peers promote recovery and wellness for individuals with mental and/or substance use disorders.  Taking Action educates people about self-help concepts, mental health management, and other effective ways of promoting ongoing recovery. It also helps people identify and attain their goals, improve self-esteem, and become fully contributing members of the community. To obtain a copy of Taking Action, please visit: http://store.samhsa.gov/product/SMA14-4857.

SAMHSA’s Suicide Prevention Resource Center at http://www.sprc.org provides information on a wide range of suicide prevention programs and resources that people who are dealing with this issue can draw upon.

SAMHSA’s National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ provides real time, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention counseling services 24/7 all year round to people in immediate crisis, or who know someone who may be considering suicide.

Primary and behavioral health care providers can sign up to be notified when SAMHSA’s new suicide risk evaluation and prevention mobile app, Suicide Safe, is available for download.

The complete survey findings from this report are available on the SAMHSA Web site at: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUHmhfr2013/NSDUHmhfr2013.pdf

For more information, contact the SAMHSA Press Office at 240-276-2130.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.

Last Updated: 08/19/2015