Mental illness impacts 450 million people globally. In addition to the tremendous human suffering it creates in one in four families, it bears a tremendous cost on society at large. The World Health Organization has called this the humanitarian crisis of our time. It has the ability to diminish a family's quality of life, sometimes plunging them into poverty. Stigma leads to discrimination in housing and limits educational and employment opportunities. This creates a domino effect of isolation and suffering that causes nearly one million people to take their own life each year.
The World Economic Forum and Harvard School of Public Health estimate that the direct and indirect costs of mental illness were 1.7 trillion in 2013. By 2030, that cost is expected to reach 6 trillion. Depression is expected to become the leading cause of disability for women and children. Yet, of the 13% of the world’s population living with mental health conditions, two-thirds receive no treatment.
In the U.S., people living with serious mental illness face a myrid of challenges. Eighty-five percent are unemployed, 40% are homeless, and 24% are incarcerated. The experience of mental illness can also prevent people from learning the most basic life management skills and limit their ability to build and sustain social relationships, manage their financial affairs, seek educational and employment opportunities and focus on self-care.
Fountain House has a solution.