Worldwide Statistics on Mental Illness and Wellbeing
Mental health services across the globe are an increasing challenge for all countries and their governments. Often chronically underfunded, even in many Western countries, mental illness can affect all sections of society. For the individual, it has an impact on physical health and their sense of wellbeing and connection to the world around them.
How we care for and treat people with mental health problems varies across the world. In places like Africa, there is difficulty in collecting reliable statistics but issues such as ongoing conflicts and wars and the impact of HIV infections give cause for concern. Even in places like the UK there is a major worry about the rise in mental health problems and the lack of investment in this area compared to other health provisions.
According to the World Health Organisation:
- Mental health issues affect about 1 in 4 people at some time in their lives. This accounts for some 450 million people worldwide.
- Strikingly, around 60% of people who suffer from mental illness do not seek medical attention or other help for their disorder.
- The most common problem concerning mental health in many countries is a cycle of neglect and lack of understanding that prevents concerted action being taken.
- Mental health is the fourth biggest contributor to the world disease burden and yet a quarter of countries have no legislative or comprehensive health structure in place to address it.
- 66% spend 1% or less of their total health budgets on tackling mental health and a quarter of countries do not have the three most commonly prescribed drugs for treating the condition Schizophrenia.
In the USA, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness:
- 5% of the adult population experience some form of mental health issue and 1 in 25 have a serious mental health episode that has had a disruptive influence on their lives.
- People who have a serious mental illness are likely to die on average 25 years earlier than those who do not.
- Suicide is the third biggest cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the US.
- Ethnic minorities including African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans, use mental health services significantly less than Caucasian Americans.
In Europe, according to the World Health Organisation:
- 4 of 15 people have suffered from some form of anxiety or depression issue and 1 in 15 have suffered from severe depression.
- 6 countries are in the world top twenty when it comes to suicide rates with the highest being Lithuania (28.2 people per 100,000).
- 3% of all deaths in the 28 countries of the EU are related to mental health and behavioural disorders, some 164,000 people per year.
In Africa, according to World Psychiatry:
- 3% of 0-9 year olds suffer from some form of mental illness, all the more worrying when you consider that half the population is made up of those under 15 years of age.
- Prevalence of mental health issues such as dementia is relatively small because of the low percentage of the population that is over 65.
- There are only 0.05 psychiatrists per 100,000 people in Africa compared to 9 per 100,000 in Europe.
Across the rest of the world, incidence of mental health issues and the level of care provided varies:
- Conservative estimates put the number of people suffering from some form of mental illness in India at around 50 million, or about 5% of the population. Almost half of those have no access to mental health care at all.
- In China, some 173 million people suffer from mental illness of which the vast majority do not seek any professional help. According the medical journal The Lancet, mental health issues are increasing quickly in the country.
- A report in Japan showed that 1 in 12 elementary school children suffered from mild or severe depression with the number rising to 1 in 4 at secondary school.
Mental Health Statistics in the UK
Mental Health: New Understanding, New Hope
Mental Health Statistics Across the EU
Mental Health in America