Mental Illness and Substance Use in Young Adults

Entering adulthood can be an emotional time, but sometimes the ups and downs can mean something more.

Millions of young adults are living with a mental or substance use disorder and many either do not realize they have one or are not paying attention to the signs and not seeking help. In fact, of the 8.9 million young adults who reported having a mental illness in 2018, more than 2 in 5 went untreated and of the 5.1 million with a substance use disorder, nearly 9 in 10 did not get treatment.

It is important to remember that asking for help is a normal part of life, and you should never feel like you have to take on the world alone. If you are concerned that you or someone in your life may be drinking too much, using drugs, or dealing with mental illness, there are resources available to help.

Image of incoming call on a cellphone

Is your intuition telling you something is up? If you think you are having problems with mental health or substance use, listen to yourself. Watch the Message video.

Infographic: Entering Adulthood: Getting Help for Mental and Substance Use Disorders

Infographic: Entering Adulthood

Transitioning into adulthood comes with a range of emotions. Learn the signs of mental and substance use disorders and remember it is okay to ask for help. (PDF | 243 KB)

Guide: Starting the Conversation

Guide: Starting the Conversation

Think your friend is having a problem with their mental health, drugs, or alcohol? Talk to them to provide support and motivation to get the help they need. (PDF | 66 KB)


Need Help?

If you, or someone you know, needs help with a mental or substance use disorder, call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889, or use SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to get help.

References and Relevant Resources

Last Updated: 09/26/2019