Mental Health Foundation comments on major new survey of people’s mental health experiences

15 January 2016

Today the Health & Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) has published a major new study, surveying over 5,000 adults in England, which has found:

  • “26% of adults reported having ever been diagnosed with at least one mental illness.”
  • “Women were more likely than men to report ever having been diagnosed with a mental illness (33% compared with 19%).”
  • “19% of adults reported that they had ever been diagnosed with depression, including post-natal depression. This was the most frequently reported diagnosis.”
  • “8% of adults reported ever being diagnosed with panic attacks.”
  • “6% of adults reported ever being diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder.”
  • “Men and women living in lower income households were more likely to have ever been diagnosed with a mental illness than those living in higher income households: 27% of men and 42% of women in the lowest income quintile compared with 15% of men and 25% of women in the highest.”

Commenting, Josefien Breedvelt, Research Manager for the Mental Health Foundation, said:

“Robust statistics such as these underline and reinforce the prevalence of mental health problems. With one in four people having a diagnosed mental health problem and with many other people living with anxiety and depression in their day to day lives, this is an issue that is likely to touch the lives of every family in the country.

"Poor mental health has a profound impact on the lives of people and can affect their ability to sustain relationships, work, or just get through the day – with an estimated cost to society between £70 and £100 billion a year. Yet despite this only a quarter of people with a mental health problem receive treatment and there is a historic underfunding of research into the causes of and solutions to mental health problems. As a result, most people end up grappling with mental health issues on their own, or with the support of friends and family.

“Thankfully, there is now much more focus on mental health with a cross-party consensus to increase funding. But we still have some way to go until we can ensure that people receive early support and treatment and that we are doing all we can to prevent problems from developing. The Mental Health Foundation hopes that this study spurs us on to redouble our efforts to give people the help, support and resources they need and deserve.”