Millions of people around the world are suffering from a form of mental health illness, especially in the United States. According to the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately a quarter of the US population between the ages 18 and above, are suffering from a form of mental disorder, or a combination of several issues. This translates into roughly 58 million Americans.

According to statistics, around 6% of them are suffering from a severe mental health illness. In addition to that, almost half of this figure is suffering from two or more disorders. Here are some of the most common forms of mental health illnesses in the US and around the world.

Mood Disorders

According to the NIMH, almost 21 million Americans over the age of 18 are suffering from this form of mental health illness. There are three types of mood disorders: bipolar, major depressive disorder, and dysthymic disorder. On average, majority of people with one of these three forms of mood disorders experience this upon reaching the age of 30.

However, it is important to note that the figures described in that NIMH statistics only cover ages 18 and above. This does not include children suffering from mood disorders.

One of the most common results of mood disorder is suicide. NIMH 2006 figures show that over 33,000 people died in the US by committing suicide. Most of these people had a form of mental health disorder that was diagnosable. Furthermore, mood disorders are commonly a result of substance abuse.


Schizophrenia is another common mental health illness characterized by a person’s distraught views of the world. Men are more affected by this illness and it starts commonly while they are in their late teens. NIMH reports that over 2.4 million Americans above age 18 are affected by this illness.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorder is one of the most common forms of mental health illness, affecting over 40 million Americans over the age of 18. Majority of people with anxiety disorders experience the first episode upon reaching the age of 21. Note once again that this figure only represents those above 18 and not younger. Anxiety disorders are also common in children and early teenagers.

Social Phobia

Another type of mental health illness that affects Americans is Social Phobia. According to statistics, around 15 million Americans are affected by this disorder. Almost 7% of people over the age of 18 are diagnosed with social phobia.

Social phobia begins at an early age. While it commonly starts at the age of 13, there have been reports that people younger than 13 have already been diagnosed with this disorder.


Other than the above-mentioned disorders, there are other forms of mental health illnesses that affect the society in general. Personality disorders, post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorder, for instance, have affected a significant amount of the population at one time or another. Mental health illnesses can be treated as long as they are diagnosed at its early stages. Unfortunately, many patients are not willing to undergo diagnosis and seek proper treatment.




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