By the Numbers

If you are struggling with a mental illness or substance use disorder (SUD), know that you are not alone. Millions of people are affected by behavioral health conditions in America.


Prevalence of mental health disorders (18+)


Prevalence of SUD (12+)

Baltimore’s Public Behavioral Health System

The Public Behavioral Health System (PBHS) is a statewide system of care that provides mental health and substance use services to low-income individuals and families and people who are uninsured. In Baltimore City, over 75,000 people access care through the PBHS — an annual expenditure of over $585 million.

People Served

Below is a breakdown of the number of people served by the Public Behavioral Health System in Baltimore in the 2018 Fiscal Year:

2019 BHSB BTN People Served

Baltimore population 2018: 602,495

Outpatient Services


2019 BHSB BTN Outpatient Services
2019 BHSB BTN Venn Diagram

Behavioral Health in Baltimore: By the Numbers


Experiencing trauma as a child can have lifelong consequences. A growing body of research indicates that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) contribute to negative physical and behavioral health outcomes. Experiencing six or more ACEs may reduce life expectancy by 20 years.

  • In Baltimore, 42% of adults have experienced three or more ACEs, compared to 24% Statewide.
  • Exposure to poverty or racism directly contributes to ACEs. In Baltimore 24% of people live below the poverty line compared to 9.9% of people statewide

Source: Census Bureau, ACS 5-year estimates 2010-2015 , 2015 Brief Risk Factor Surveillance Survey

There is a strong, graded relationship between ACEs and behavioral health problems including:

  • ACEs increase the risk of suicide attempts by 2 to 5 fold
  • Each ACE increases the likelihood of early initiation into illicit drug use by 2 to 4 fold

Source: SAMSHA, The Role of Adverse Childhood Experiences in Substance Misuse and Related Behavioral Health Problems, 2018 /


The opioid overdose epidemic has been devastating in Baltimore. Since 2013 the number of overdoses in Baltimore has more than doubled, largely driven by opioids. There were 888 overdose deaths in Baltimore City in 2017, 758 of those deaths involved fentanyl. The chart below shows the increase in fatal overdoses.

2019 BHSB BTN Drug and Alcohol Rates

Source: Maryland Department of Health, Unintentional Drug and Alcohol Related Intoxication Deaths in Maryland Annual Report 2018


Suicide rates have been steadily increasing in the United States. According to the CDC, suicide rates have increased 30% since 1999.

2019 BHSB BTN Suicide Rates

The rates of youth suicide are significantly higher in Baltimore than the rest of the state. In 2017:

  • 31.9% of Baltimore high school students felt sad or hopeless
  • 19.2% have seriously considered suicide
  • 16% have made a plan about how they would attempt suicide

Source: CDC Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), 2017