Nearly 1 in 5 Americans had mental illness in 2009 Newsflash: being unemployed makes people depressed. Worrying about money makes people depressed. Being depressed drives people to substance abuse and suicide. It would be interesting to quantify the health care costs of recession. "Only 64 percent of adults aged 18 or older with major depression were treated last year, compared with 71 percent a year ago." So, we're not seeing boom times for the mental health sector, since although people more depressed, they're less able to afford professional help. Maybe instead of sending people stimulus checks, the Fed should send every American a free supply of anti-depressants. By the way, for anyone who knows more than I do about public health; why is this - "The survey also found that 23.8 percent of women had some form of mental illness, compared with 15.6 percent of men." Is this typical of the difference in mental illness between women and men? I can think of a few possible reasons. Women are culturally more disposed to talking about their moods and mental life? Since they are often the managers of households, they experience more of the direct financial stress of difficult economic times? They are more genetically predisposed to mental illness than men? Their mental problems often get expressed as eating disorders, which are more likely to be noticed and diagnosed? Just a few guesses.