Who's affected?

Directly or indirectly, mental illnesses touch the lives of almost everyone in the state. The afflictions include:

  • severe bipolar disorder, characterized by dramatic swings between mania and depression
  • schizophrenia, which can involve symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations
  • severe major depression, characterized by persistent sadness and disinterest

These mental illnesses, and others, can impede people’s ability to function and carry out the normal activities of daily life. They are often compounded by stigma, making it hard for people to talk openly about their experiences.

Not only do a sixth of Californians experience some mental illness, but 1 out of every 24 have a mental illness so serious it becomes difficult for them to function in daily life.

Left untreated, these illnesses don’t only impact quality of life, they also impact survival: On average, Americans with serious mental illnesses have life expectancies 25 years shorter than the general population, in part due to untreated physical health conditions.