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Mental disorder or mental illness is defined as some kind of psychological or behavioral pattern, which emerges from subjective distress or ability of an individual, and which is not considered a part of normal development or a culture. There are many different types of mental illnesses, and the recognition and understanding of this concept have changed according to the ages and different cultures. The causes behind these conditions are often described in association to stressful living or various biopsychosocial circumstances.

Mental illness statistics

When we look at the statistics for mental illnesses it suddenly becomes clearer that mental illness isn’t something that happens only to a small number of individuals. According to the World Health Organization, about a quarter of all humans will experience one or more mental illnesses at some point of their lives. This actually means that one in every four individuals suffers from mental illness at some point. It is estimated that, at the present, about 450 million people worldwide suffer from mental disorders. Most of them are affected by depression, namely 154 million patients. Schizophrenia, alcohol use disorder and drug abuse disorder are also widespread with 25 million, 91 million, and 15 million sufferers respectively. If we do the math, we get to understand that mental illness is more common than cancer, diabetes and heart disease. However, there is still a lot of stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness, even though they can affect anyone, regardless of the age, gender, and race and socio economic status. The treatment is available and successful, but more than one third of all sufferers never seek professional help. Therefore, mental illness remains the leading cause of disability in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe.

Suicide as a consequence of mental illness

The most severe consequence of mental illness is the suicide. It is extremely upsetting to find out that every 30 seconds suicide claims a single life. About 3000 people around the world die each day because of committing suicide. However, at least 20% of this number represents a number of patients who will try to commit suicide but without success. What is even more alarming is that suicide remains among the top three causes of death among individuals aged between 15 and 34 years. This is a major health problem, which could be easily prevented if a society tried to understand the severity of mental illnesses, and deliver the treatment to affected individuals, especially if we know that in 90% of suicides, mental illness is the attributing cause.

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