According to the World Health Organization, in 2016 approximately 21.3 million1 people died from one of the top 5 leading causes of death (cardiovascular diseases, cancer, COPD, stroke, diabetes, unintentional injuries).
In 2017, the WHO estimated that 433 million people2 in the world were affected by depression, bipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia and other psychoses and dementia. This is 20x the number of people who died in 2016 from the top leading causes of death worldwide. Nearly 4% of the global population is affected by depression alone. These figures do not include other conditions like autism, suicide, substance abuse, etc.
3In the United States, in 2016, approximately 44.7 million adults (18.3% of US population) ages 18-25 suffered from any mental health condition. 10.4 million (4.2% of US population) in the same group suffered from a serious mental health condition (ie: interferes or limits one or more major life activities). Among adolescents ages 13-18, 20.8 million (6.5% of US population) suffer from any mental health condition; ~9.3 million (2.8% of US population) suffer from a serious mental health condition.
4The WHO estimates that worldwide 10-20% of children and adolescents experience mental disorders.
These statistics are staggering and prove that mental disorders are far more prevalent than all of the leading causes of death combined. These numbers should come as no surprise. No one talks openly and honestly about mental health issues so no one really knows how widespread these disorders really are.
Perhaps we can start acknowledging the reality of mental disorders by simply contemplating the facts. From there, hopefully we can start to accept these disorders – as no different from other health related issues – and stop feeling so ashamed of them.