Mental Health Statistics: Socioeconomic Costs (An Infographic)

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month this May, we’re highlighting recent figures and findings on mental health and substance abuse in an infographic. 

There’s no arguing that the modern world and the wonders that come with it has brought so much boon to humanity.

Finding a Friday night date is just one tap away, you can talk with your family in an instant who live thousands of miles away from you, and you can even get paid to work at home in your pajamas.

However, the comforts and conveniences of the modern world is a powerful force behind the growing number of people who feel alienated, lonely, or inadequate.

Modernity may have brought us closer together, but it has also kept us apart.

What are mental health and substance abuse disorders costing us?

This case study (plus an infographic!) takes a closer look at the latest figures that we can find on the prevalence of mental health disorders including substance abuse, disease burden rates, and economic impact across the mental health disorder spectrum.

Social psychologists believe that certain features of modernity: secularism, individualism, the media, meritocracy, perfectibility, and romanticism — are significant contributors to the growing number of mental health issues plaguing not just a specific country, but around 1- in-7 people globally or 11 to 18 percent of the total global population.

1 in 7 people in the global population have mental or substance use disorders

It’s worth noting that the mental health issues covered in this definition are mental health disorders (depression, anxiety, bipolar, eating disorders and schizophrenia) and substance use (alcohol and drug use disorders).

The World Health Organization category of ‘mental disorders’ also covers neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD), and developmental disability.

Mental health issues: Swept under the rug

In many cultures around the world, mental health issues remains a taboo.

While a growing number of people are talking openly about mental health in some countries, it remains an issue that is swept under the rug for the most part.

mental health issues -swept under the rug

In Asia, where many cultures value “conformity to norms, emotional self-control, and family recognition through achievement”, mental illnesses are often stigmatized and seen as a source of shame.

Meanwhile, approximately 63 percent of African Americans viewed depression as a “personal weakness”, 30 percent reported that they would deal with depression themselves, and only one- third reported that they would accept medication for depression if prescribed by a medical professional. In addition, 92 percent of depressed African-American males do not seek treatment.

A snapshot of global mental health issue prevalence: Poorly measured and misunderstood

Due to the stigma associated with mental health issues and substance abuse, an accurate picture of the prevalence of mental health disorders globally remains poorly measured. It’s not uncommon for mental health issues to be underreported and under-diagnosed.

As a result, current diagnostic statistics alone won’t bring us closer to accurate figures. Plus, there is less attention and treatment for mental health disorders in countries with lower incomes.


Number of people with mental and substance abuse disorders, World


Prevalence by mental and substance use disorder 2017, World

Women are more likely to suffer from mental health issues — depression, anxiety, bipolar and eating disorders, but substance abuse and alcohol dependency is higher in men.

share of male and female with mental health and substance use disorder

The prevalence of mental health and substance abuse disorders is approximately the same as 26 years ago but there’s been a slow but steady rise of depression among teenagers in the United States.

Socio-economic and disease burden outcomes of mental health problems

The costs of mental health problems aren’t confined to the stress, fatigue, and reduced quality of life experienced by sufferers. Anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and similar mental health issues can also have an impact on society and the economy on a global scale.

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