National Alliance on Mental Illness
page printed from NAMI St Louis
The Facts About Mental Illness
Mental illness is common, affecting one out of every five families. Those stricken with this disease experience its disabling effects. Family and friends who witness it know of its devastation.
These disorders of the brain disrupt thoughts and moods and can impair self-insight, judgment and behavior. It destroys self esteem and disrupts personal relationships, education, and employment. It is stigmatizing for those who have the disease and for their families. Diagnosis of severe mental illness includes schizophrenia, bipolar, major depression, obsessive compulsive, borderline personality disorder and anxiety disorders.
An estimated 80,000 people currently living in the Saint Louis area have, or will be diagnosed with, a severe mental illness. Without effective care and support, they will be denied the kind of productive lives that they deserve and that are possible.
The impact of severe mental illness is dramatic, for our neighbors, friends and relatives--and consequently for our communities. Four of the top ten leading causes of disability are mental illnesses Studies by the World Health Organization reveal that mental illness ranks second in the "burden of disease" in market economies such as the United States. The estimated cost of mental illness health care alone is over $50 billion annually nationwide.
Compounding this, the indirect cost of mental illness generates more than $80 billion in loss on the U.S. economy every year. These costs result from lost productivity in the work place, school and home, and from premature death of those with mental illness.
But mental illness is treatable, more so than most other chronic illnesses. Those close to a person who has a mental illness want to help and they can help. Research shows that when family and friends are well informed about mental illness, their loved ones who are ill have a significantly- improved opportunity to live productive, self-fulfilling lives.