Quick Facts

  • Some quick facts related to emotions, loneliness, mental illness, and suicide with references linked.


According to Gallup’s Global Emotions report:

  • Worldwide, negative emotional experiences (in this dataset it’s physical pain, worry, sadness, stress, and anger) has been steadily increasing since 2014 
  • Worldwide, positive emotional experiences (in this dataset it’s being well-rested, being treated with respect, smiling or laughing a lot, learning or doing something interesting, and joy) has remained stable since 2018
  • In the span of a year, the percentage of people who said they smiled or laughed a lot the previous day dropped from 75% to 70% in 2020, which is also the lowest point Gallup has ever recorded for this question
  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, 2020 was officially the most stressful year in recent history, with a record-high 40% of adults worldwide saying they experienced stress during much of the previous day. The five-percentage-point jump from 35% in 2019 represents nearly 190 million more people globally who experienced stress this often


  • Several meta-analyses (e.g., see here and here) have suggested that the mortality risk associated with chronic loneliness is higher than that of obesity, and equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day
  • According to the CDC, chronic loneliness is associated with increased rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide
  • In 2017, former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called loneliness a public health “epidemic”
  • It has been widely reported, and perhaps comes at no surprise, that the COVID-19 pandemic has exasperated the loneliness epidemic (e.g., see here and here).
  • While loneliness has often been discussed in the context of the elderly, the most recent data suggests that it is actually younger generations (e.g., Gen Z, Millennials) who are reporting the highest rates of loneliness 

Mental Illness

According to recent data from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH):

  • 21% (roughly 1 in 5) U.S. adults live with a mental illness (52.9 million in 2020)
  • Prevalence rates are higher for women (25.8%), young adults 18-25 years old (30.6%), and those reporting two or more races (35.8%)
  • Of those suffering from mental illness, only 46.2% (24.3 million) received mental health services in the past year 


  • Suicidal thoughts amongst adults in the U.S. is highest among young adults aged 18-25 (11.8%)
  • According to the CDC, after unintentional injury, suicide is the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34