Experiences of mental health problems

Mental health problems face a huge stigma in todays society, and many people have suffered from prejudice and discrimination. It is important people realise having a mental health problem is not a sign of weakness, and nothing to be ashamed off. It is often the reaction to trauma suffered in ones life and people in mental distress may suffer from changes in their behaviour, thoughts and feelings. People who suffer from mental distress can still lead fulfilling lives. The causes of mental health problems remain unknown and there is no ‘one size fits all’ treatment for mental health problems.

Below are some statistics about mental health issues:

    • Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain
    • 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year
    • Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men
    • About 10% of children have a mental health problem at any one time
    • Depression affects 1 in 5 older people
    • Suicides rates show that British men are three times as likely to die by suicide than British women
    • Self-harm statistics for the UK show one of the highest rates in Europe: 400 per 100,000 population
    • Only 1 in 10 prisoners has no mental disorder
    • In 2004, more than 5,500 people in the UK died by suicide. (Samaritans suicide statistics, 2004)
    • British men are three times as likely as British women to die by suicide. (Samaritans Information Resource Pack, 2004)
    • Suicide remains the most common cause of death in men under the age of 35. (The National Service Framework For Mental Health – Five Years On, Department Of Health, 2005)
    • The suicide rate among people over 65 has fallen by 24% in recent years, but is still high compared to the population overall. (Samaritans Information Resource Pack, 2004
    • It is estimated that approximately 450 million people worldwide have a mental health problem.  (World Health Organisation, 2001)
    • About half of people with common mental health problems are no longer affected after 18 months, but poorer people, the long-term sick and unemployed people are more likely to be still affected than the general population.  (Better Or Worse: A Longitudinal Study Of The Mental Health Of Adults In Great Britain, National Statistics, 2003)
    • Dementia affects 5% of people over the age of 65 and 20% of those over 80. (National Institute For Clinical Excellence, 2004)
    • About 700,000 people in the UK have dementia (1.2% of the population) at any one time. (National Institute For Clinical Excellence, 2004)

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