The Challenge

The Challenge:

In 2016 –

– people died by suicide in the U.S.
Of Young Adults who attempt to die by suicide have a diagnosable Mental Illness

But for some reason, we don’t like to talk about it.

At some point in everyone’s life, they will be touched by mental health challenges in one way or another. Whether that be a family member, friend, neighbor, coworker, or even yourself. Mental health challenges have many faces and affect people of all ages, races, and genders.


Mental Health in Young Adults

  • 1 in 4 high school students experience a mental health challenge.
  • 16% of young adults contemplate suicide.
  • 13.6% of students made a plan about how they would attempt suicide in the previous 12 months (16.9% of females and 10.3% of males). (CDC)
  • 8.0% of students attempted suicide one or more times in the previous 12 months (10.6% of females and 5.4% of males). (CDC)


How many people have we lost by suicide?

  • From 2011 to 2015, 401 youth (ages 10-24) died by suicide in the Commonwealth.
  • 1 person dies every 12 minutes by suicide in the U.S.
  • On average, 123 Americans die by suicide every day. More than a million Americans made suicide attempts in 2015.
  • For every one death by suicide, approximately 25 attempts are made by others who are struggling.
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
  • In 2005, an 280 deaths by suicide were reported by the state of Massachusetts to the CDC. By 2016, that number had risen over 630 deaths in one year.
  • Over 70% of all people who die by suicide had a diagnosable mental health challenge.

So, how prevalent are mental health challenges?

  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. – 9.8 million – experience mental health challenges in a given year. (NAMI)
  • 6.9% of adults in the U.S. – 16,000,000 people- had at least 1 major depressive episode in the past year.
  • Depression is the number 1 disability in the world. (WHO)
  • Depression costs over $80 billion in lost earnings and medical costs each year. (CDC)
  • According to a survey by The NAN Project, 87% of people know someone with a mental health challenge.


  • Fewer than half of those experiencing depression receive medical or psychiatric help.
  • In 2016, the suicide rate increased by 30%. (CDC)
  • 60% of people had difficulty accessing proper mental health supports.

Why aren’t people getting the help they need?

The topic of mental health is so stigmatized that many people feel like they will be  looked down upon for struggling. It causes those who are affected to suffer in silence, afraid of asking for support. 50% of people reported that they are afraid of the stigma surrounding mental health challenges.

To watch our video about stigma, press the image  below!

What can we do about it?

  • Between 80% and 90% of adolescents that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication.
  • Talking about suicide and various mental health challenges openly and honestly helps reduce the stigma surrounding it
  • According to The NAN Project survey, 91% of people want more mental health services in their communities.
  • Improving mental health and reducing the burden of mental illnesses are complementary strategies which, along with treatment and rehabilitation of people with mental disorders, significantly improve population health and well-being. (WHO)
  • Identifying both risk factors and protective factors with targeted intervention and screening of psychiatric symptoms are important issues of mental health promotion and prevention of mental illnesses in adolescents. (NIH)
  • Help is always within reach.


The NAN Project’s mission is to create a safe space for students to discuss what may be bothering them, and get the help they may need before it’s too late. By telling our stories, from our struggles to the ways we finally gained the strength to ask for help, we are fighting stigma with the truth about recovering from mental health challenges.


stand up to stigma

If you need help and want to talk to someone, call:

Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

For the Crisis Text Line, text “Listen” to 741-741

For the Samaritans, Call or Text (877)870-4673

For immediate crisis evaluation call the Emergency Services Program / Mobile Crisis Intervention at 1-877-382-1609 & enter your zip code; you will get the phone number of the closest ESP/MCI that serves you.

If you are in immediate danger, please call 911

Join our mailing listJoin Now

Emergency Help - Suicide Prevention Lifeline 988