While people from every walk of life are vulnerable, some demographic groups have a disproportionate risk of mental illness. The prevalence is higher, for example, among people living in poverty, military veterans, victims of crime, people who are homeless, and persons in non-dominant social groups including women, people of color, and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) population. This is due in large part to the chronic stress from trauma, difficult living conditions, and discrimination within society and among service providers.
Mental illness is pervasive in Northeast Florida, just as it is throughout the world. It affects people of every age, gender, race, sexual orientation and socio-economic standing. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that one in every four adults in the United States (approximately 61.5 million) experiences a diagnosable mental illness in a given year. That means that approximately 268,384 of the 1,073,534 adults in Northeast Florida are living with a mental illness. About 4 percent of adults live with a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, or other psychotic disorders – or nearly 42,000 in Northeast Florida.