Mental Health: Facts & Statistics

Key Facts & Statistics

(Statistics mostly based in the UK)

  • 1 in 4 people will be diagnosed with a mental illness every year, the most common diagnoses being depression.
  • Women are more likely to have a common mental health problem than men.
  • In 2013, 8.2 million people were diagnosed with anxiety disorder and women were almost twice as likely to be.
  • Among teenagers, rates of depression and anxiety have increased in the past 25 years.
  • 1 in 4 young people will experience suicidal thoughts.
  • Rates of self-harm in the UK are the highest in Europe.
  • 55% of children who have been bullied later develop depression.
  • Black people are more likely to be diagnosed with a mental illness than any other ethnic group.

Common/well-known mental illnesses

  • Anxiety/Panic disorder
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders (Anorexia, Bulimia etc.)
  • Personality disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Hypomania/Mania
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Discrimination, stigma and problems within the health care system 

  • 9 in 10 people who experience mental health problems have experienced stigma and discrimination through work, education, the health care system and through social aspects.
  • A fifth of adults believe that one of the main causes of mental disorders is a lack of self-discipline and willpower.
  •  Many people believe that people with ill mental health are violent and dangerous.
  • More than a quarter of children referred to mental health services in 2015 received no help, commonly with the reason that their disability was not serious enough.
  • Many people with ill mental health often have difficulty finding and keeping a job due to stigma.
  • People will often avoid talking to doctors about their mental health problems or concerns because of fear of stigma/discrimination meaning they do not get the treatment and care they need.
  • Due to stereotypes and stigma, people will often have low self-esteem, sometimes preventing them from doing daily tasks or communicating/socialising well with others.

How are people and societies affected by this?

  • Almost 9 out of 10 people with mental health problems say that stigma and discrimination have a negative impact on their lives.
  •  In 2016, when asked if they would feel comfortable talking to their employer about mental health, 48% of people said they would not.
  • Each year, 70 million days of work are lost due to mental ill health.
  • In a survey carried out by the organisation Time To Change (results published in 2008), it was reported that the majority of people with mental illness had stopped doing things they wanted to do (inc. getting a job, building friendships, doing activities etc) because of stigma and discrimination or their fear of it.
  • It was also reported that carers of people with mental illnesses also felt affected by the stigma and discrimination against mental health.
  • Mental health problems can cost the UK around £100 billion a year meaning it has a big impact on the economy.

Historical Contexts

  • In ancient times, people with mental disorders were thought to reflect the unhappiness of gods or show that someone was possessed by a demon.
  • It is known that in the past, during the 18 and 1900’s, people with mental ill health were treated inhumanely and with little to no respect, often kept in psychiatric wards/mental hospitals.
  • In the 1840’s, Dorothea Dix helped launch a movement to create more humane facilities. Despite this, neglect and abuse towards patients were still common in American asylums.
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