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Living with Schizoaffective Disorder

Someone You Know is Mentally Ill

One out of three people is mentally ill. Ask two friends how they're doing.
If they say they're OK, then you're it.

Mental illness is common in the entire world's population. However many people are unaware of the mentally ill who live among them because the stigma against mental illness forces those who suffer to keep it hidden. Many people who ought to be aware of it prefer to pretend it doesn't exist.

The most common mental illness is depression. It is so common that many are surprised to find out that depression is considered a mental illness at all. About 25% of women and 12% of men experience depression at some time in their lives, and at any given moment about 5% are experiencing major depression. (The statistics I find vary depending on the source. Typical figures are given by Depression Statistics.)

Roughly one to three percent of the population is manic-depressive. You probably know more than a hundred people - the chances are great that you know someone who is manic-depressive. Or to look at it another way, according to K5's advertising demographics, our community has 27,000 registered users and is visited by 200,000 unique visitors each month. Thus we can expect that K5 has roughly 270 manic-depressive members and the site is viewed by about 2,000 manic-depressive readers each month.

A slightly smaller number of people have schizophrenia.

About one in three hundred people get schizoaffective disorder during their lives. This statistics lumps both the Depressive Type and the Bipolar Type together.

More statistics can be found in The Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America.

While homelessness is a significant problem for the mentally ill, most of us are not out sleeping on the streets or locked up in hospitals. Instead we live and work in society just as you do. You will find the mentally ill among your friends, neighbors, coworkers, classmates, even your family. At a company where I was once employed, when I confided that I was manic-depressive to a coworker in our small workgroup, she replied that she was manic-depressive too.

Copyright © 2003 Michael David Crawford . All Rights Reserved.

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