Mainstream Living

Facts About Mental Illness

In order to end the stigma surrounding mental illness, we need to be educated.  Being informed makes you a better advocate! Below are some facts about mental illness and the system in Iowa.  

  • One in five people experience a mental illness annually. 130,000 Iowans live with a serious mental illness.
  • Half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and 75% of cases begin by the age of 24. 
  • Suicide is the leading cause of injury deaths. Over 90% of those who complete suicide have a mental health disorder.
  • Iowa has only 121 psychiatrists in private practice; 31 are child psychiatrists, and the majority practice in Des Moines or Iowa City. 
  • Iowa ranks 50th in the nation for state beds. We rank 47th overall for the total number of public and private beds.
  • Iowa has approximately 300 prescribers in the state, including registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants. (This does not include any psychologists who may be able to prescribe.)
  • There are 10 times more people with mental illness in jails and prisons than in hospital beds.
  • In 1950, Iowa had more than 5,000 mental health beds. Today, we have 720.
  • We had fewer than 2,000 prison beds in Iowa in 1950; today, we have more than 8,000.
  • Approximately 40% of male inmates and 60% of female inmates in Iowa have a serious mental illness diagnosis. Of all inmates in Iowa, 70% have a substance use disorder diagnosis.
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