Home Disorders Statistics Serious Mental Illness (SMI) Among Adults

Serious Mental Illness (SMI) Among Adults


While mental disorders are common in the United States, their burden of illness is particularly concentrated among those who experience disability due to serious mental illness.

Serious Mental Illness in the contect of this Survey stands for:

  • A mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder
  • Diagnosed currently or within the past year;
  • Prevailant for sufficient duration as per DSM-IV
  • Resulting in serious functional impairment, leading to major changes in life activities.

The data presented here are from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH):

  • In 2015, there were an estimated 9.8 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States with SMI within the past year. This number represented 4.0% of all U.S. adults
  • Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—9.8 million, or 4.0%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
  • 6.0% of female adults with an SMI received treatment, compared with 57.8% of male adults with an SMI.
  • 67.4% of non-Hispanic white adults with an SMI received treatment, approximately one and a half times the rate for Hispanic or Latino adults with an SMI, 45.7%.
  • 70.8% of adults with an SMI who had health insurance received treatment, more than one and a half times the rate for those without health insurance, 43.2%.
  • 8.5% of American Indian or Alaska Native adults experienced an SMI, compared with 4.4% of Hispanic or Latino adults, 4.2% of non-Hispanic white adults, 4.2% of adults of two or more races, 3.4% of non-Hispanic black adults, 2.0% of Asian adults, and 1.8% of Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander adults.
  • 5.2% of adults aged 26–49 experienced an SMI, compared with 4.1% of adults aged 18–25 and 3.0% of adults aged 50 and over.

Serious Mental Illness in Adults

Sometimes crying or laughing
are the only options left,
and laughing feels better right now.

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