Mental Health

This article was first published in April 2018. by Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser

In this entry, we present the latest estimates of mental health disorder prevalence, disease burden rates, and mortality impacts across a number of disorders. We address substance use disorders (alcohol and drug use disorders) in separate entries on Substance Use and Alcohol Consumption.

Most of the estimates presented in this entry are produced by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and reported in their flagship Global Burden of Disease study.

Mental health and substance use disorders are still significantly under-reported. This is true across all countries, but particularly at lower incomes where data is scarcer, and there is less attention and treatment for mental health disorders.

Mental health disorders are complex and can take many forms. The underlying sources of the data presented in this entry apply specific definitions (which we describe in each relevant section), typically in accordance with WHO's International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10). This broad definition incorporates many forms, including depression, anxiety, bipolar, eating disorders and schizophrenia.

Mental health disorders remain widely under-reported — in our section on Data Quality & Definitions we discuss the challenges of dealing with this data. Figures presented in this entry should be taken as estimates of mental health disorder prevalence — they do not strictly reflect diagnosis data (which would provide the global perspective on diagnosis, rather than actual prevalence differences), but are imputed from a combination of medical, epidemiological data, surveys and meta-regression modelling where raw data is unavailable. Further information can be found here.

In many cases, we may therefore consider reported estimates to be an under-estimation of true prevalence and disease burden. It is also important to keep in mind that the uncertainty of the data on mental health is generally high so we should be cautious about interpreting changes over time and differences between countries. Even taking into account that mental health disorders are likely underreported, the data presented in this entry demonstrate that mental health disorders are common and have a high prevalence. Improving awareness, recognition, support and treatment for this range of disorders should therefore be an essential focus for global health.

The table below provides a brief summary of the data which follows on mental health and substance use disorders. Clicking on a given disorder will take you to the relevant section for further data and information.

DisorderShare of global population with disorder (2016)

[difference across countries]

Number of people with the disorder (2016)Share of males:females with disorder (2016)
Any mental or substance use disorder15.5%


1.1 billion16% males

15% females



268 million3% males

4.5% females

Anxiety disorders4%


275 million3% males

4.7% females

Bipolar disorder0.6%


40 million0.55% males

0.65% females

Eating disorders

(clinical anorexia & bulimia)



10.5 million0.07% males

0.2% females



21 million0.29% males

0.28% females

Alcohol use disorder1.4%


100 million1.9% males

0.8% females

Drug use disorder (excluding alcohol)0.9%


62 million1.1% males

0.5% females

I wish you a healing journey!
WHO suicide rates

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