The Facts about Mental Illness

When stigma, discrimination, and shame are removed from the equation, people living with mental illness may feel supported in enjoying everyday activities, seeking treatment, and achieving recovery.

Learning the facts about mental illness and mental health will help communities better understand this common health condition and eliminate stigma and discrimination in Sacramento County. Vast research shows that the earlier a mental illness is identified and treated, the better the chances are for full recovery. Scroll down to shed light on some of the myths and misconceptions about mental illness.


Fact 1

Mental illness is a common health condition. Roughly 1 in every 5 adults and 1 in 6 children will experience a diagnosable mental health condition during their lifetime. In Sacramento County, more than 300,000 people live with mental illness. 1,2

Fact 2

Mental illness causes mild to severe disturbances in thinking, perception, mood and/or behavior. These disturbances can affect a person's ability to cope with life's demands and routines. However, with education, support and treatment, people can—and do—recover and live fulfilling lives.

Fact 3

Two-thirds of people with a diagnosable mental illness never seek professional help. This is due to a variety of factors including, but not limited to: lack of awareness or knowledge to identify features of mental illness, lack of awareness about symptoms of mental illness and about how to access health and behavioral health services, discrimination, and self-stigma.3,4

Fact 4

Mental illness is rarely the cause of violence. While the media often portrays those with mental health conditions as violent, only 5% of violent crimes in the United State are committed by people with a mental illness. In fact, individuals living with a mental illness are more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators. 5

Fact 5

Mental illness can have an impact on physical health as well as mental health. For instance, people with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population. Seeking treatment is important in promoting overall health. 6



Common Mental Illnesses

Conversation Starter

Hey, it seems like you’ve got a lot on your mind lately. How are you?

I just wanted to say that I am here if you want to talk about anything – Can we get together this week? 

I noticed you have missed a few days of school, and I just wanted to check in with you and see how you are doing.

I haven’t seen you in a while! How have you been?

I know life can feel like a lot sometimes, but if you need someone to talk to, I want you to know I am here.

You’ve seemed a little down lately and I wanted to see how you are doing.

I just want you to know I am here for you if you ever need to talk. You’re my friend and I won’t judge you.

I know things have been hard lately; let me know if you want to talk about it. I’m here for you.


Are you looking for help?

Learn more about services and support available in Sacramento County.