• One in four adults experiences mental illness in a given year. One in 17 lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.
  • Approximately 20 percent of youth ages 13 to 18 experience severe mental disorders in a given year. For ages 8 to 15, the estimate is 13 percent.
  • About 18.1 percent of American adults live with anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder and phobias.
  • Approximately 26 percent of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness and an estimated 46 percent live with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders.
  • Approximately 20 percent of the state prisoners and 21 percent of local jail prisoners have a recent history of a mental health condition.
  • Seventy percent of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition and at least 20 percent live with a severe mental illness.

Getting Mental Health Treatment in the Unites States of America.

  • Approximately 60 percent of adults, and almost one-half of youth ages 8-15 with mental illness received no mental health services in the previous year.
  • African American and Hispanic Americans used mental health services at about one-half the rate of whites in the past year, and Asian Americans at about one-third the rate.
  • One-half of chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14; three-quarters by age 24. Despite effective treatment, there are long delays, sometimes decades, between when symptoms first appear and when people get help.

The Impact of Mental Illness in America

  • Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.
  • Mood disorders such as depression are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults ages 18 to 44.
  • Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic medical conditions.
  • Adults living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than other Americans, largely due to treatable medical conditions.
  • Over 50 percent of students aged 14 and older with a mental health condition who are served by special education drop out of school.  This is the highest dropout rate of any disability group.
  • Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. (more common than homicide) and the third leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 24 years. More than 90 percent of those who die by suicide had one or more mental disorders.
  • Although military members comprise less than 1 percent of the U.S. population, veterans represent 20 percent of suicides nationally. Each day, about 22 veterans die from suicide.

Are we going to continue ignoring Mental Health Issues, or be silent about it?

Or are we going to start making it ok to talk about it and break the stigma surrounding Mental Health?  It’s up to us to make a difference.


In just over a year from now, I will be embarking on my journey to run across the beautiful state of Minnesota. Why Minnesota? First, that’s where I live, so it satisfies the convenience factor. Second, I can only take so much time away from my family and my job.

One of my goals with this project is to inspire others to create their own journeys and projects that will create an atmosphere of open discussion and/or awareness of mental health issues. It could be anything from getting a group of people together to walk or bike or run, to creating a book or backyard garden club. The idea is to create a movement or a moment that will bring mental health awareness to others. Lets celebrate mental health rather than hiding it!

It doesn’t matter if you live in Melbourne, Australia, Cleveland, Ohio, or Buenos Aires, Argentina; we can all do something to start breaking the stigma that surrounds Mental Health.

I encourage you create and enjoy your own journeys just as much as I am building and savoring mine!