Many people are not aware that mental health is a substantial public health issue. It’s not just an individual problem, but one that affects communities and society as well. Mental illness can lead to poverty, homelessness, unemployment, substance misuse, and other social issues. What if there was a way for philanthropists to invest in the long-term solution of improving mental wellness?
1) It is estimated that one in five Americans are living with some form of mental illness.
Many people are suffering from mental health problems and do not know where to turn. In the United States, it is estimated that one in five Americans are living with some form of mental illness.
At an individual level, those who suffer from a debilitating condition such as depression or schizophrenia can experience significant impairment across all life domains, including work, school, and social relationships.
2) Conditions on Mental health are the leading cause of disability worldwide.
Mental health conditions are also a primary public concern because they are the number one cause of disability worldwide, impacting an estimated 100 million people or roughly one-third of all U.S citizens at some point in their lives.
People with mental illness may be less productive and contribute to higher rates of absenteeism in the workplace. At a more macro level, mental illness is estimated to cost American society $317 billion annually due to related hospital visits, substance misuse, and incarceration.
3) Mental health is a low priority in the philanthropic sector.
Many foundations have not prioritized mental health because it does not have clear metrics for success or proven pathways to scale. Consequently, few large-scale successes can be replicated and studied, which contributes further to its lack of investment.
4) Mental health issues are hugely expensive to society.
Mental illnesses can be debilitating and costly in human suffering and have economic implications for the individual, family members, employers, schools, communities, and governments.
5) These social problems can be prevented with early intervention.
If mental health issues are identified and treated at an earlier stage, the costs for society will decrease significantly by preventing more serious disabilities together with long-term treatment needs.
However, this requires significant investment in research to identify risk factors that could help us predict who is most likely to develop a mental illness to provide early intervention. Mental health is an issue that can impact everyone and requires a global response from all sectors of society, especially philanthropy.
Mental health has to be a priority for philanthropy because many people suffer from debilitating conditions such as depression or schizophrenia, leading to unemployment, substance misuse, and incarceration. Also, mental illness is the leading cause of disability worldwide and costs American society $317 billion annually due to related hospital visits, substance misuse, and incarceration.