Our Goal:  A Call to Action to Transform the Future for Young Adults with Mental Health Needs.  

Statistics and Other Thoughts From School Mental Health Symposium 12.7.16

  • Approximately 25% of the entire US population, or 80
    million ​people, experience mental illness
  • In Illinois, over 2.5 million people experience mental illness
  • In Illinois schools, there are approximately 175,000 students
    who receive special education services due to emotional
  • Over 4,000 who have needs that exceed the resources of local school districts, and subsequently require educational placement in the therapeutic day school setting or residential facilities

THE LAST 30 Years

  • In 1985, the U.S. Department of Ed, commissioned the National Longitudinal Transition Study, to assess the post-school outcomes for individuals with disabilities.  Since that time a second study was commissioned, followed by a third...

 What have we learned over time? 

  • We’ve learned that the post-school outcomes for individuals with emotional disabilities have been and continue to be inferior to the outcomes experienced by not only their non-disabled peers, but by their peers of other category of disability 


  • Of the nation’s students identified as having emotional disabilities, over 50% exit the school system without a high school diploma
  • Only 25% continue their education after high school
  • And of those who do continue their educations, over 70% experience mental health crises while on campus, often resulting in the lack of degree completion


  • In the workforce, between 60 and 90% of individuals who live with mental illness are unemployed
  • For the fortunate ones who are employed, many experience elevated rates of underemployment, being passed over for promotions and employment instability


  • With an education that may not even equate to a high school diploma, high rates of unemployment, under employment and employment instability, independent and stable living is presumably difficult to achieve.
  • In 2014, it was estimated that over 13,000 Illinoisans experienced homelessness each night
  • Over 30% of those individuals, or nearly 4,000 people, suffered from severe mental illness
  • Comparably, on a national level, over 30% of adult homelessness is associated with severe mental illness


  • Involvement in the criminal justice system is a frequent reality for those who experience mental illness.
  • In Illinois, over 60% of local jail inmates, over 55% of state prisoners and approximately 45% of federal prisoners experience a form of mental illness
  • Nationally, over 70% of youth in the juvenile justice system experience at least one mental health condition
  • It is estimated that individuals who suffer from mental illness are 3 times more likely to be in the criminal justice system than receiving treatment in an inpatient facility


  • Over the last 20 years, psychiatric beds available to individuals with severe mental illness have decreased by nearly 33%, while the number of Americans suffering from severe mental illness has increased by over 8%
  • Since 2009, States have collectively cut over $5 billion in mental health service funding, with Illinois ranking in the top three for the largest funding reductions
  • With more people in need and fewer services available, access to mental health care is of critical concern.
  • Of the millions of Americans who experience mental illness annually, less than 40% will receive mental health services this year.
  • Only 50% youth ages 8 to 15 experiencing mental illness will receive mental health services
  • And in Illinois, only 20% of students with emotional disabilities will receive mental health services


  • Of all illnesses, mental illness accounts for approximately 15% of the economic burden in the United States. 
  • Conservatively, it is estimated that mental illness costs nearly Americans $195 billion dollars per year in lost earnings
  • Further, between lost wages, healthcare costs and disability benefits, mental illness costs Americans $317 billion dollars annually


  • While we have literally put a dollar amount on the impact of mental illness on the US economy, what about the impact on the families of those suffering from mental illness?
  • Over  60% of parents caring for a child with mental illness, feel that they are unable to adequately care for their other children
  • 50% report having to change jobs, in order to care for their child
  • 70% report significant strain on their marriages and other relationships
  • Over 50% report stigma and prejudice related to mental illness had been experienced by members of their families
  • And more than 20% report having made the unimaginable decision of relinquishing custody of their child with mental illness, a sacrifice made with the hope of giving them a fighting chance at receiving the care and treatment they need


  • With statistics that leave us at a loss for words, let’s not forget who is at the heart of this critical conversation. 
  • 75% of individuals suffering from mental illness believe that people do not care about​​