You Are Not Alone: Understanding the Prevalence of Mental Health Disorders

It is now widely believed that “[M]ore than one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness.” This is a pretty intense statistic, but pointing out this statistic is not meant to be discouraging. However, it could certainly come across that way. No, for those of us struggling with our own mental health disorders, this statistic should hopefully help us feel less alone. If you are struggling with mental illness, you are not unique to that disorder; there are many individuals out there experiencing the same struggles. There are also many recovery professionals out there that can help alleviate those struggles.

When struggling with issues of mental health, it can feel like we are out floating on an open sea without a shore in sight. This isolation and loneliness can be devastating. Not only that, but over time, this isolation and loneliness can compound to make situations even worse. This is why reaching out and making a connection can be crucial for recovery.

Being able to connect with professionals that understand and treat mental illness as well as others with a shared experience can be a pivotal part of the recovery experience. We have to know that we are not alone, regardless of how hard our mental health issues try to tell us otherwise.

What Does the State of Mental Health Disorders Look Like in the 21st Century?

These are just a few of the latest statistics regarding mental illness provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) article “Mental Health Facts in America”:

  • Roughly one in five adults in the U.S. will experience mental illness each year
  • One in 20 adults in the U.S. will experience a serious mental illness each year
  • Roughly one in six youth in the U.S. aged six to 17 experience mental health disorders each year

To better put that into perspective, it may help to look at it from a population point of view. That is 51.6 million adults that will struggle with mental illness this year, 12.9 million of which will struggle with a serious mental illness, and 7.1 million youth that will struggle with some form of mental health disorder. If you are an individual that is feeling like you are the only one struggling, please take solace in knowing that this is a shared struggle. Also, it is one that, with the right help, can be overcome.

What Are Some of the Warning Signs of Mental Illness?

Of course, before any recovery can begin, it is important to spot the signs of mental illness if they are occurring. This does not mean that anyone should self-diagnose or receive a diagnosis from anyone other than a medical or recovery professional. It just means that having a better awareness of the “warning signs” of mental illness can often help determine the need for help sooner than later.

According to NAMI, these are some, but certainly not all, of the signs to look out for in someone that may be struggling with mental illness:

  • They begin to express excessive worry, anxiety, and unfounded fear
  • Feeling depressed, excessively sad, and/or low
  • Having trouble concentrating, trouble retaining information, and trouble with memory
  • Isolating and avoiding friends and family
  • A marked change in sleeping patterns, including sleeping too much or sleeping too little
  • Having trouble relating to other people
  • Experiencing changes in eating habits, including a lack of appetite or avoidance of eating
  • The misuse and/or abuse of substances such as alcohol or drugs
  • Thinking about self-harm and/or having suicidal ideations

While the spectrum of mental illness is broad, if you detect or experience any of these symptoms, it may be time to seek professional help. The good news is that there is plenty of caring and qualified mental health and recovery professionals that will be there when you do.

What Are Some Options for Treating Mental Health Disorders?

One of the most important decisions an individual may ever make is the choice the advocate for themselves and seek mental health care. With the right recovery center, it can also be one of the best decisions an individual will ever make. One should never seek mental health care lightly. It is important to find the type of recovery center that holds your values and sees you as an individual. They should want to see you get well for the long term, not just make you feel better in the moment.

Of course, they must also have an assortment of treatment options. The best recovery centers will be able to offer a variety of evidence-based therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). They should also offer experiential therapies like art and cinema therapy or holistic options like reiki. It is also important to remember that recovery should not happen in a vacuum, so being able to attend group therapy sessions can be a crucial part of the recovery journey.

While many people in the world struggle with mental illness, we must never forget that we are never a number. For those of us that have been affected by mental illness, we can transcend those statistics and become the face of what healthy, successful, and sustainable recovery looks like.


Built on the principles of assertive community treatment, Galen Hope is an eating disorder and mental health treatment center offering individualized treatment options that include Intensive Outpatient (IOP), supported housing, and Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP). As a “Community of Integrated Wellness,” we pride ourselves in fostering a thoughtful and meaningful care experience that can guide our clients on their road to recovery and increased quality of life, regardless of diagnosis. Galen Hope currently offers separate, age-specific programming for adolescents ages 12-17 and adults 18 and up of all genders. To learn more or to join our community for integrated wellness, please contact us today at (888) 892-1817.

Belong. Heal. Grow.

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