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What is mental health, and how does it affect our lives? The answer to this question is never defined, with everyone having their own viewpoints and opinions. What we make of mental health and its impacts on daily aspects of life is developing all the time. To improve this understanding, it is imperative to know how many people struggle with mental ill health by familiarising yourself with the relevant facts, research, and statistics.

This article lists some facts and figures regarding mental health statistics UK to help grow your awareness of this sensitive topic.

Statistics suggest that:

  • 1 in every four people suffer from some type of mental health issue every year in England
  • 1 in every six people in England report experiencing a common mental health issue, including depression and anxiety

Mentioned below is a quick overview of the mental health facts in the UK according to different categories.

By Age

  • Up to 15 per cent of people over 60 years suffer from a mental health issue.
  • The suicide rate in England is the most common among people falling in the age bracket of 45 to 49 years.
  • More than a quarter of young women between 16 to 24 years of age report experiencing a common health issue in any particular week.
  • Around 1.4 million senior citizens in the UK above 65 report feeling isolated and lonely.

By Gender

  • 1 in every five women in the UK report developing symptoms of a mental health issue compared to 1 in 8 men
  • Approximately 51.2% of women and 35.2 per cent of men think that they suffered from a diagnosable mental health issue at some point in their lives
  • 40 per cent of men said the thoughts of self-harm or suicide would force them to seek professional help
  • About one-third of women and one-fifth of men in the UK have had professionally-confirmed mental health diagnoses in their lives
  • Girls and women are twice as more likely to attempt suicide than boys and men

By Specific Diagnoses

In any given week in England: 

  • 8 in 100 people suffer from mixed depression and anxiety
  • 6 in 100 people develop a generalised anxiety disorder
  • 1 in 100 people experience OCD
  • 4 in 100 people suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder
  • 2 in 100 people acquire some type of phobia
  • 3 in 100 people experience depression

In any given year:

  • 3 in 100 people may develop an antisocial personality disorder
  • 2 in 100 people may experience borderline personality disorder
  • 2 in 100 people may be labelled as bipolar

Keep in mind that the estimates for these diagnoses may vary. Moreover, some of the psychiatric illnesses mentioned above, like personality disorders, can be pretty controversial, and their labels can be too stigmatising to be used.

In the Workplace

  • Up to 300,000 people with mental health issues in the UK lose their employment every year
  • 71 per cent of the people worry about letting their employer know about their mental health struggles for fear of getting expelled or receiving a negative response
  • Around 822,000 people experienced common mental health issues, like depression, anxiety, and stress due to problems related to their workplace in the year 2020-21
  • 55 per cent of people in the UK report that their employment has negatively affected their mental health
  • 12.7 per cent of the sickness leaves in the UK are due to mental health conditions

While mental health issues can affect anyone, certain groups are more vulnerable than others. These include: 

  • People belonging to the LGBTQIA community. These people are up to three times more likely to acquire a mental health problem in England than the heterosexual communities.
  • Young women falling in the age bracket of 16 to 24 years. Almost a quarter of these females report developing common mental health issues in any given week, and the number has only been increasing over the years.
  • Black British people. Approximately 23 per cent of people in these communities experience a common mental health issue in any given week. This compares to only 17 per cent of White people living in the UK.
  • Up to 40 per cent of people in England with overlapping problems, including substance abuse, homelessness, or contact with the criminal justice system, end up developing a mental health problem.

Regardless of what the statistics mentioned above suggest, it is crucial to know that your identity, no matter what it is, never gives you mental health problems. The causes leading to poor mental health are multiple and can be highly complicated. People who are the most vulnerable include those: 

  • Going through a traumatic experience
  • Facing social disadvantage or inequality
  • With problems in physical health
  • Facing social exclusion or discrimination

The situation of mental health issues UK has been worsening over the years. With a constant rise in the overall number of individuals reporting these mental illnesses, the mental health statistics UK 2023 are speculated to be the worst of all times. So far, we know that:

  • The number of people struggling with common mental health issues increased by 20% between the years 1993 to 2014.
  • The number of individuals reporting the symptoms suggestive of a severe mental illness in a given week rose from 7% as recorded in 1993 to 9% in 2014.
  • The number of young women struggling with mental health issues has also been on the rise for the past decade.

The number of suicide cases reported annually in England and Wales has also increased since 2018. Before this, these statistics were thought to be going down and improving with time. This sudden change in trend is partly due to the sudden change of rules for recording causes of death. Experts now believe that more deaths are being recorded as suicide, even those that would have been recorded as something else before the change of rules. Nevertheless, an apparent increase in the number of people under 25 taking their own life can be seen since 2018.

Experts also report that:

  • Between the years 2000 and 2014, the percentage of people reporting self-harm increased by 62 per cent, indicating more than a two-fold increase
  • The number of people reporting having suicidal thoughts increased by 30 per cent between the years 2000 and 2014
  • The number of individuals who experience suicidal thoughts or engage in self-harm is increasing faster than the number of individuals experiencing mental ill health. This may potentially indicate that people are finding it more challenging to cope with their mental issues, ultimately resorting to suicide as a last resort.

Poor mental health impacts the UK in multiple ways, some of which are explained below:

  • Mental illness is the second-largest factor contributing to the disease burden in England. Moreover, mental illnesses are also likely to exert more impactful and long-lasting effects on people than other health issues.
  • Mental ill health alone leads to the loss of 72 million working days, accounting for an additional cost of £34.9 billion annually. Other estimates suggest this cost be as high as £99 billion.
  • The total cost of services associated with mental ill health in the UK is estimated to be £105 per year.
  • People battling a long-term mental health condition tend to lose their jobs every year at a rate double that of people without sound mental health. This roughly accounts for 300,000 people losing their employment which equals the entire population of Newcastle, UK.
  • Up to 75 per cent of mental health illnesses, excluding dementia, can start impacting people’s lives before they hit 18 years.

Mental ill health is capable of causing massive devastation in the lives of the afflicted ones. Yet, the stigma associated with these issues makes it hard for these people to seek help, ultimately leading to more complications in the future. As suggested by the recent mental health statistics in the UK, the problems related to poor mental health are only worsening with time, and it’s high time we get up and do something about it instead of allowing it to thrive and silently affect our lives.

If you or someone around you is struggling with a mental illness, know that you are not alone. Get in touch with a professional immediately to stop further deterioration and move towards healing and recovery.

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