7 Mental Health Facts

Nov 7, 2015 by

One of the largest and most universal issues facing our world today is the growing prominence of mental disorders. The most shocking aspect of the epidemic of mental disease is that it has, until recently, largely been unaddressed. This type of behavior must cease as we move forward. Here are some sobering facts about the current state of mental health, and why we must work hard to address it…

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1. One-in-five children have a mental disorder, worldwide

Due to the vulnerability of children to mental disease, half of all mental disorders begin before the age of 14. The highest rate of mental illness, in all countries, happens before the age of 19. The main reason for this susceptibility is that the brain is in its most crucial period of development at this age. External, genetic, or simple complications can disrupt this period of brain development and cause abnormalities in the mind. All of this adds up to a shocking one-in-five children around the world being diagnosed with a mental disorder.

2. Mental health disabilities are the leading cause of disability

While there is a good deal of support for many with physical, more obvious disabilities, there is a lot less set up to help those who suffer from mental disorders. Although rich countries, like the United States and most of Europe, have programs in place to help the mentally disabled, there is oftentimes no way to fight it in poorer countries, as the infrastructure for treatment simply doesn’t exist. Even in many parts of the United States, though, mental disorders still go untreated, either because of underreporting or lack of proper care.

3. Nearly one million people commit suicide, annually

Among young individuals, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death around the world. Nearly an astounding 20 million people attempt suicide each year. This is due to two major factors. The first is mental illness, which pushes many individuals to a point of feeling hopeless, and as if there is no hope in their lives. The second is alcoholism, which often amplifies the effects of mental illness. Sadly, many people aren’t taught to recognize the signs of suicide, especially in poor countries. This makes it especially difficult to lower the rate of suicide.

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4. Mental disorders increase the chance of disease

Studies have found that those who suffer from mental illness have an increased chance of catching other diseases. This is because many mental disorders can affect the ability of an individual to take proper care of themselves. While wealthier countries oftentimes have some sort of support system in place to help these people live healthier lives, this isn’t the case in most poor countries. However, even in those wealthier countries, under reporting often hampers the ability for organizations to get help to the people who need it.

5. Mental health is highly stigmatized

Around the world, many people who suffer from mental illness also are targets of severe human rights violations. This is because many people do not actually see mental illness like other diseases, and believe it often comes down to a personal choice of why a person is suffering the way they are. This often leads to an attitude of neglect, and even to high rates of abuse. This inherent alienation will cause many people who suffer from a mental disorder to not report it, for fear of this abuse.

6. There’s a lack of mental health workers around the globe

Sadly, the truth is that there are not very many professional mental health workers around the globe, and even less who have the proper education to handle every situation that arises in the fight against mental illness. In most low to middle income countries, there is only one psychiatrist for every 2 million people. This shortage makes it almost impossible to combat the rising rates of mental illness, at least until something is done about it.

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7. Practices are changing

Although many of these facts and statistics may be highly depressing, the situation is far from hopeless. While the longstanding stigma of mental illness has made it hard to fight in the past, modern views have changed. Today, people are starting to see mental illness for what it is, a disease that must be treated like any other disease. There’s more light and research going on in the field of mental illness than there has ever been before. For more information about what is happening in the fight against mental illness, check out this article here.

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