New Survey Reveals Statistics on Mental Health, Substance Use Disorder in US

New Survey Reveals Statistics on Mental Health, Substance Use Disorder in US

Mental illness affected 22.8 percent of U.S. adults in 2021, according to the survey results.

As organizations and employers continue to talk about supporting mental health and well-being in the workplace, it’s important to remember just how many people are affected by mental illnesses, substance use disorders and substance use.

Mental illness affected more than one in five (22.8 percent of) U.S. adults in 2021, with 5.5 percent reporting a serious mental illness, according to highlights from newly published survey results.

The survey, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), also found that about one in six (16.5 percent of) people in the U.S., or about 46,300,000 people, experienced substance use disorder in the past year.

Some of the population was affected by a mental illness and substance use disorder at the same time. More than one in ten (15.5 percent of) 18 to 25-year-olds reported experiencing both, according to SAMHSA’s news release. Almost half (46 percent) of the people in this age bracket experienced one or the other.

“Every year since 1971, this survey has given us a window into our nation’s mental health and substance use challenges and 2021 was no different. As the findings make clear, millions of Americans young and old faced mental health and substance use challenges—sometimes both at once—during the second year of the pandemic,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in a news release.

What can employers do to support their employees? The National Safety Council offers a variety of resources on mental health and substance use including an “Opioids at Work Employer Toolkit,” “Impairment Recognition and Response Training for Supervisors,” “Substance Use Cost Calculator for Employers” and “Mental Health Cost Calculator for Employers,” as listed in a news release.

Employers can also educate workers, work to reduce the stigma, create a health and safety program and work with human resources. Read Mental Health in the Workforce: How to Support your Employees for detailed information on these topics.

Another helpful resource is the U.S. Surgeon General’s Framework for Mental Health & Well-Being in the Workplace. Read OH&S’ coverage of the framework here.

In addition, you can listen to our podcast on How to Support Employee Mental Health & Wellness or The Workplace, Substance Abuse & Staying Safe.

About the Author

Alex Saurman is a former Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety,who has since joined OH&S’s client services team. She continues to work closely with OH&S’s editorial team and contributes to the magazine.

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