Mental Health and Suicide Statistics

Mental health challenges are a growing concern for teens and young adults. Suicide rates among young people have also increased over the past decade. 

Below, find up-to-date statistics about these issues and the populations most at risk.

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*Updated as of 2/18/2022

Mental Health Statistics

  • 1 in 3 (30.6%) young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 experienced a mental, behavioral, or emotional health issue in the past year (SAMHSA, 2021).
  • 26.9% of teens ages 12-17 have one or more mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral problems (NSCH, 2019).
  • 36.7% of high school students reported feelings of sadness or hopelessness in the past year. This percentage is higher for females (46.6%), Hispanic students (40.0%), and lesbian, gay or bisexual students (66.3%) (CDC, 2020).
  • Among college students, 29.1% have been diagnosed with anxiety and 23.6% have been diagnosed with depression (NCHA, 2021).

Suicide Rates

  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for teens and young adults, ages 15-24 (SAVE, 2021).
  • 25.5% of adults ages 18-24 reported having seriously considered suicide in the past month. This is a higher percentage than any other adult age group (CDC, 2020).
  • 18.8% of high school students reported having seriously considered suicide in the past year. This percentage is higher among females (24.1%), and lesbian, gay, or bisexual teens (46.8%).
  • 8.9% of high school students attempted suicide in the past year. This percentage is highest among females (11.0%), black teens (11.8%), and lesbian, gay, or bisexual teens (23.4%) (CDC, 2020).

Increasing Concerns during the Pandemic

  • As of January 2021, 41.5% of adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, as compared to 10.8% in January 2019. This percentage is even higher among 18-29 year olds, at 56.9% (CDC, 2021).
  • 69.1% of 12-17 year olds perceived that the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected their mental health (SAMHSA, 2021).
  • Between 2019 and 2020, there was a 30.7% increase in emergency room visits for mental health reasons for children ages 12-17 (CDC, 2020).
  • LGBTQ+ teens and young adults were more likely than non-LGBTQ+ teens/young adults to report using alcohol, pills, or drugs as a way to cope with their distress over the past six months (The Jed Foundation, 2021).

Additional Mental
Health Statistics

10.2 million people between the ages of 18 and 25 experience a mental, behavioral, or emotional health issue. This amounts to 1 in 3 (30.6%) young adults, a percentage that is higher than any other adult age range. This rate has increased significantly over the past five years (from 22.1% in 2016).

Source: SAMHSA, 2021

Additional Suicide
Statistics

The suicide rate for 13 to 30 year olds has steadily increased from 2010 to 2018 (showing a decrease in 2019). This rate is higher among males of all racial/ethnic groups, particularly American Indian males.

Source: CDC/WISQARS, 2021

More Support is Needed

Not enough young people are getting support for their mental health: 47.1% of young adults aged 18 to 25 perceived an unmet need for mental health services (SAMHSA, 2021). While 72% of LGBTQ+ teens and young adults desired professional counseling, only 32% received these services (The Jed Foundation, 2021).

Schools should do more to support student mental health and suicide prevention. Today, 91% of school administrators feel that schools should make efforts to prevent suicide among students. Similarly, 92% believe that schools should make efforts to identify high school students in need of mental health services (The Jed Foundation, 2020).

JED is Here to Help

We believe that high schools and higher education institutions give young people social structure and emotional support. Therefore, this is where we focus our public health approach to promoting mental health and preventing suicide. 

Learn more about our Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention for Colleges and Universities and for High Schools. These evidence-based models are used to assess strengths and areas for improvement.

Learn about how your school can sign up for our JED Higher Education and JED High School programs. For more resources, check out our Mental Health Resource Center.