About a quarter of all people in the United States have a mental illness and nearly half of U.S. adults will develop at least one mental illness during their lifetimes, a new government report shows.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control on Friday issued a report entitled “Mental Illness Surveillance Among Adults in the United States” which summarizes at least eight population surveys and health care surveys.

Depression estimates were generally highest in Southeastern states, with 13.7 percent in Mississippi and West Virginia, versus 4.3 percent in North Dakota, the CDC said in a report Friday, citing the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, U.S. in 2006.

Meanwhile the study also noted the absence of a national-level anxiety disorder surveillance activities to help guide public health policy.

The authors of the study urged that such surveillance be taken up at the national, state and local levels.

Anxiety can impose as much impairment as depression and such disorders are as common in the population as depression, the study said.

Mental Illness Background

Mental illnesses are also associated with chronic medical diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity, the study said.

The illnesses account for more disability in developed countries than any other group of illnesses, including cancer and heart disease, a CDC fact sheet noted, citing the World Health Organization.