Mental Health Problems in the UK and the US | Free Essay Example (2023)


With the ongoing war in Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia, prices of fuel, electricity, water, and the rest has been increased, contributing to mental health problems for many individuals and families. Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) indicate that Europe’s mental health care has been neglected and underfunded across the member states. Additionally, the cost of treating these illnesses is high in such countries as Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Finland. Such countries as the UK also spend huge amounts of money on mental illnesses. Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development According to OECD, the UK spends up to £94 billion annually on mental illness (Boseley, 2018). With these statistics, the country needs to explore the nature and prevalence of mental health, mental illnesses, and mental well-being. A comparison will be made between the UK and the United States from a cultural perspective. Specifically, the comparison focuses on generalized anxiety disorders (GAD) leading to depression. GAD can be described as six or more months of chronic exaggerated worry, tension, or more severe anxiety.

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According to World Health Organization (WHO) Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being rather than the mere absence of disease or deformities (WHO 1948). This definition is widely accepted; with this in mind, this definition implies that mental health encompasses more than the absence of mental diseases or disabilities (WHO, 2018).

Furthermore, WHO defines Mental health as a condition of well-being in which an individual recognizes their potential, can cope with everyday stresses, works, and contributes to their community (WHO, 2018). Such is a healthy mind, and Mental illness is a disorder that impairs one’s cognitive, emotional, or social capacity and is diagnosed by a medical expert (NHS, 2022).

Anxiety disorders

The Case of the UK VS USA

A report published by the House of Commons Library estimates that 1 in 6 adults have recently experienced such common mental disorders as depression and anxiety (Baker, 2021). In 2020/21, 2.0 million adults and 0.8 million children accessed NHS mental health, autism, and learning disability services. 1 in 6 children between the ages of 6 and 16 has experienced at least one health problem in 2021 (Baker, 2021). This figure has risen from 1 in 9 children in 2017 (Baker, 2021). From a historical perspective, the UK is recording an increasing number of patients with mental health disorders, especially depression and anxiety.

The UK has been dealing with mental health issues for several decades, whose historical developments have been captured by the Mental Health Foundation. In 2019, this organization celebrated its 70th anniversary, where Smith (2019) articulated public opinion and policy surrounding mental health developments. The end of the Second World War and the foundation of the NHS were followed by an urgent need to get funding for mental health. In the 1950s, mental health was largely ignored, which caused stigma and fear since people with mental health were regarded as lunatics (Szasz, 1960). In the 1960s, mental health became an academic discipline, and the 1970s saw advances in mental health research. Academic careers emerged in the 1980s and public awareness was increased in the 1990s. at the onset of the 21st century, the UK started to advocate mental health for everyone, not just those experiencing mental health problems.

A comparison between the UK and the United States can be made by giving an overview of the prevalence and the historical and cultural overview of mental health in the country. The National Institute of Mental Health provides some statistics which indicate that the case of the USA is almost like that of the UK. For example, 1 in 5 adults in the US lives with a mental illness, which totals 52.9 million in 2020 (NIMH, 2022a). However, the records for the US are more elaborate as gender, race, and age classifications are also presented. For example, prevalence is higher among females (25.8%) than in males (15.8%) (NIMH, 2022a). Similarly, the prevalence was higher among young adults (30.6%) than in adults aged 26 to 49 years (25.3%) and those over the age of 50 years (14.5%) (NIMH, 2022a). Some of the differences between the two countries may be caused by demographic differences. For example, an estimated 24.3 million people will have received mental health services in 2021, a figure significantly larger than that of the UK. However, the population in the US is larger than that of the UK.

Anxiety disorder in both countries has been associated with some of the historical developments in the lives of people. For example, the levels to anxiety have been observed to have increased from 2008 to 2018 (Campbell, 2020). This period is characterized by such incidences as a recession, growth of social media, climate concerns, Brexit, and a change of attitude towards disclosing anxiety disorder.

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Similar to the UK, GAD is a major mental health problem faced in the United States. In 2020, the prevalence of depression among adults 18 years and above was 21 million, which represents 8.4% of all adults (NIMH, 2022b). Adult females (10.5%) recorded a higher prevalence than adult males (6.2%) (NIMH, 2022b). Racial disparities are also more profound in the United States than in the UK. For example, the prevalence for people who reported two or more races was 15.9% (NIMH, 2022b). Overall, it can be argued that the US faces similar mental health situations.

Historical and cultural perspectives

Historically, society has treated people with mental health conditions as abnormal (ref). For example, In the UK, mental asylum is equivalent to a modern-day psychiatric hospital. The term “asylum” comes from the early (religious) organizations that offered asylum as a means of refuge for the mentally sick people (Science Museum, 2018). Bethlem in the UK is regarded as one of the oldest of such institutions. Many methods were used to treat the mentally sick; a typical of such methods was restraint. Restraints prevented people from injuring themselves or attempting suicide. For example, William Scrivener, a mentally ill patient at the Lincoln Asylum, died of strangling in 1829 after being tied to his bed in a straitjacket and left alone overnight. The incident convinced the Lincoln authorities to abolish all physical restraints and institute a no-restraint policy. Their approach had a significant impact on asylum reform in the 1800s, and it was symbolic of a wider shift in attitudes regarding mental disease and the treatment of mentally ill individuals (Science Museum, 2018). More reforms continued and today we have a meaningful treatment to mentally ill.

The US, on the other hand, resembles the UK in terms of the historical and cultural perspective of mental health. For example, many American cultures also perceived mental health as religious punishment or demonic possession. Additionally, racial minorities are disproportionately affected as statistics show blacks and Hispanics record more mental health cases (MHA, n.d.; Terlizzi & Norris, 2021). Also similar to the UK is the treatment-seeking behaviors of the minority races in the United States (Turner et al., 2018). According to Lu et al. (2021), minority populations face stigmatization which prevents them from seeking treatment. Since the problem was largely ignored, stigma and fear were also associated with mental illness. The main difference is that individuals with mental health used to be subjected to unhygienic and degrading confinement in the US during the 18th century. The history of mental illness in the US is longer than in the UK, especially since hospitals and deinstitutionalization began in the 1840s. Mental health policies emerged as early as 1909 and, in 1979, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill was formed to offer support, advocacy, education, and research services to people with mental health problems. Today, mental health is a scientific and medical problem addressed through various academic disciplines and healthcare practices.

From a cultural perspective, mental health can be understood as a cultural issue which faces cultural difficulties. For instance, disparities across cultures in the UK mean minority races and ethnicities are disproportionately represented in the prevalence of mental health statistics (Simkhada et al., 2021). Minority populations record higher cases of mental health (Bignall et al., 2020). In the UK, Asian and Black minorities are disproportionately represented (Koodun et al., 2021). Additionally, minority cultures have lower treatment-seeking tendencies (Bhugra et al., 2021). In many cases, Blacks and Asian minorities display these treatment-seeking behaviors (Jacobs & Pentaris, 2021; Arday, 2018). According to Gopalakrishnan (2018), mental health providers tend to work with patients from different cultures from their own. The challenges with culture range from how people perceive mental health issues the nature of therapeutic relationships, treatment-seeking patterns, and issues of discrimination and racism. In the UK, mental health is built on western medicine and research, which means that mental health is perceived as being caused by biological or psychological factors that can be medically treated (Njoku, 2020). This means that a change in perception has occurred, as the traditional views held that mental illnesses were caused by supernatural powers or evil spirits. Therefore, the UK has succeeded in overcoming myths and developed scientific approaches to mental health.

Mental Distress Models- (Anxiety)

Mental distress for example, anxiety disorder, can be explained using multiple models, including behavioral, biological, cognitive, and psychodynamic. According to Srividya et al. (2018), mental health can be described as an indicator of a person’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Behavioral models conceptualize mental distress as psychological disorders manifested through overt behavior patterns produced through learning and the influence of reinforcement contingencies. Therefore, the behavioral model is based on the assumption that all maladaptive behavior is acquired through the environment in which an individual lives. This conceptualization often means that psychiatrists prioritize changing behavior instead of identifying the root causes of the dysfunctional behavior (Fritscher, 2021). This approach can be regarded as the major conflict generated by the behavioral model since it can be argued that practitioners treat the symptoms and not the illness itself. Changing behavior means correcting one’s actions without due consideration for what caused the behavioral patterns.

Biological models often focus on genetics and environmental stressors, where a key assumption is that anxiety and other mental health disorders run in families. According to Mufford et al. (2021), the heritability of anxiety disorders ranges between 32% and 67% across all subtypes. Specific genes have been associated with mental distress, with findings across multiple studies backing this observation. Therefore, psychiatrists following the biological model will focus on examining neuroimaging of the brain to establish the neural networks associated with a mental disorder (Clark et al., 2017). The major conflict generated by this model is that it fails to acknowledge the cases where genetics are not the problem. Additionally, the model has not been well-development as compared to others, including the psychodynamic, cognitive, and behavioral models. More research would be needed in this modeling of mental distress since critical answers are yet to be obtained. This model has informed studies, research, practice, and policies across both the UK and the US. In other words, both the US and UK use similar treatment approaches associated with the behavioral model, including modifying maladaptive or ineffective patterns.

Cognitive models are often applied to such mental issues as social anxiety disorders, often associated with younger populations. For example, it is estimated that 90% of social anxiety occurs by the age of 23 years (Leigh & Clark, 2018). The cognitive models are based on the premise that people acknowledge the need to make good impressions on others but believe they come across badly. Anxiety can be described as intense, persistent, and excessive fear and worry about daily situations. From a cognitive perspective, these fears emanate from personal perceptions and expectations within the social setting (Fritscher, 2020). The main conflict generated by this model is that there are cases where anxiety occurs in the non-conscious, which means that anxiety is not necessarily a cognitive problem. Similar to the behavioral model, both the UK and the US use the cognitive model in research, policy, and practice. For example, the UK mental health research community uses the cognitive model to develop a set of best practices in mental health care.

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Lastly, the psychodynamic models are derived from psychoanalytic conceptualizations, which include self-psychology, object-relations theory, attachment theory, and ego psychology. The principle in psychodynamic theories is that mental life is unconscious and that childhood experience works with genetic factors to shape adult life (Vinney, 2019; Ribeiro et al., 2018). Other maxims include those symptoms and behaviors that serve multiple functions and that these symptoms and behaviors are determined by complex and unconscious forces. Therefore, it can be argued that these models would raise conflicts when considering such elements as social anxiety, where the forces are conscious as opposed to unconscious. Researchers from both countries focus on this model to develop interventions. Examples in the USA include the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. In the UK, researchers also seek to develop lasting and effective therapies.

Experiences and Impact of Mental Disorders

Mental disorders, specifically anxiety disorders, cause detrimental experiences on patients and negatively affect individuals, carers, groups, society, and families. These experiences are similar across the OECD, which means that both the United States and the UK display similar characteristics. The experiences and impacts have been subjected to multiple studies focusing on one or more of these stakeholders. Across the US and the UK, it can be observed that the well-being of individuals can be devastated, especially when they cannot live normal lives (Penaskovic, 2022). The limitations include hospitalization, work disruptions due to sick days, declining workplace productivity, and declining incomes due to job disruptions. For school-going individuals, their academic performance is also devastated. Second, the family is the next group to feel direct detriments of mental disorders, especially when the family members act as carers for the patients. Family caregivers tend to provide care to relatives with mental illness; their experiences range from psychological and emotional distress emanating from observing an individual suffer (Azman et al., 2017). The impacts also include loss of income and work productivity due to the time taken caring for the individual.

Society in the UK and the US is negatively impacted by mental disorders among its members. The social impacts are often in the form of social costs associated with mental health. For example, it can be observed in the UK and the US that higher rates of unemployment, reduced productivity, and higher levels of poverty are all experiences of a society with a greater prevalence of mental disorders. The rationale behind this observation is that more people with mental problems means more individuals that are unemployed. The burden of caring for such individuals is borne by family members and relatives. Economic costs, including hospitalization, therapy, and prescriptions, are expenses that negatively affect the socioeconomic well-being of individuals. Additionally, other family members and relatives may also lose their jobs due to their commitment to caring for the individuals. These social costs are often the basis for developing mental health policies in such countries as the UK. For example, new research reveals that the UK economy suffers at least £118 billion as a result of mental health, which forces the stakeholders to advocate more preventative measures (McDaid, 2022). Overall, society is negatively affected in terms of socioeconomic development.

Lastly, careers are another group of people handling mental health patients. Similar to the family members caring for the mental health patient, the caregivers tend to experience higher levels of emotional distress and stigma associated with observing the suffering of the patients. Additionally, some of the patients may require constant care, which could cause burnout among the caregivers. Therefore, the quality of life of a carer could be detrimentally affected. Carers in the UK and the US record high levels of emotional distress, which emanates from spending time with suffering patients. Additionally, carers across these countries face other difficulties, which include difficult home environments for home caregivers.

Stigma and mental health

Stigma is one of the major problems associated with patients with mental illness. As explained earlier, the cultural issues surrounding mental health in both the UK and the USA included stigma and fear as patients were largely ignored. Today, the main cause of stigma in both the UK and the US is the negative perceptions associated with the condition. More specifically, people perceive mental health patients to be unable to control their problems and are more likely to be violent, criminal, dangerous, and unpredictable. Additionally, people with mental disorders can be considered cowards, difficult to like, and lack willpower (Gaiha et al., 2020). The outcome of these perceptions is that the patients are often sidelined or socially excluded, which causes further stigmatization. The stigma is associated with worsening symptoms and a reduced likelihood of seeking treatment. In other words, stigma can be detrimental to treatment-seeking behaviors and the ability of individuals to recover or respond positively to treatment.

Social inclusion is often considered to be an important human right, including for individuals with mental illness. Similar observations can be made across the UK and the US, especially when issues of race and religion emerge as the key determinants of inclusion. According to Hall et al. (2019), inclusion is also a critical part of recovery from mental illness. Therefore, social exclusion can be detrimental to mental health patients since it inhibits their recovery. Mental health patients may not recover on their own, which explains why most interventions are often patient-centered. Despite the adverse effects on the family and society, it can be argued that the best approach to assisting mental health patients is by offering them social support. In this case, social support becomes a mechanism to avoid stigmatization and speed up the recovery process.


Mental health disorders, especially anxiety and depression, are major health problems across Europe and other developing countries, including the United States. Historical and cultural perspectives have been used to compare and contrast mental health issues in the UK and the United States. The case of other European countries has also been highlighted, indicating that developed countries across Europe have relatively similar incidences and prevalence of anxiety and depression. Models that explain mental distress have been outlined and the experiences and impacts of mental illness on family, individuals, carers, and society. Lastly, the causes of stigma have been described, including the negative perceptions by people. Social exclusion is considered to be a critical barrier to the recovery process among mental health patients.


Arday, J. (2018). Understanding mental health: What are the issues for black and ethnic minority students at University? Social Sciences, 7(10), 1-25.

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Azman, A., Singh, P., & Sulaiman, J. (2017). The mentally ill and their impact on family caregivers: A qualitative case study. International Social Work, 62(2), 1-11.

Baker C, (2021) Statistics on Mental Health.

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Bignall, T., Jeraj, S., Helsby, E., & Butt, J. (2020). Racial disparities in mental health: Literature and evidence review. Race Equality Foundation.

Boseley S, (2018) Guardian Health editor Mental illness cost UK £94billion a year.

Campbell, D. (2020). UK has experienced ‘explosion’ in anxiety since 2008, study finds. The Guardian.

Clark, L., Cuthbert, B., Lewis-Fernández, R., Narrow, W., & Reed, G. (2017). Three approaches to understanding and classifying mental disorder: ICD-11, DSM-5, and the National Institute of Mental Health’s research domain criteria (RDoC). Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 18(2), 72-145.

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Fritscher, L. (2021). Behavior modeling for the treatment of phobias. Verywell Mind.

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Jacobs, L., & Pentaris, P. (2021). Factors affecting the help-seeking behaviour of Black Asian minority ethnic (BAME) groups for mental health services in the UK: A literature review. Greenwich Social Work Review, 2(1), 156-170.

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Lu, W., Todhunter-Reid, A., Mitsdarffer, M., Munoz-Laboy, M., Yoon, A., & Xu, L. (2021). Barriers and facilitators for mental health service use among racial/ethnic minority adolescents: A systematic review of literature. Frontiers in Public Health, 9, 1-16.

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What is the common mental health problem in the UK? ›

Mixed anxiety and depression

The most common mental health issue is experiencing a mix of the intense worry of anxiety and the deep sadness of depression. In somebody with both anxiety and depression, symptoms of each can exacerbate symptoms of the other.

How do you write a mental health essay? ›

Writing about mental health: The do's
  1. Do start with a goal for your mental health content. ...
  2. Do use credible sources. ...
  3. Do include details on how to get in touch with professional help. ...
  4. Don't limit people's identities to their mental health. ...
  5. Don't turn people into victims. ...
  6. Don't use derogatory phrases.
Dec 1, 2021

How does mental health in America compare to other countries? ›

The United States has one of the highest mental health burdens among high-income countries studied. Structural capacity to meet mental health needs, in terms of workforce numbers and preparedness, is also relatively lower in the U.S. than in other high-income countries.

What is mental health like in the UK? ›

Nearly two-thirds of people (65%) say that they have experienced a mental health problem. This rises to 7 in every 10 women, young adults aged 18-34 and people living alone. Only a small minority of people (13%) were found to be living with high levels of positive mental health.

What is the biggest health problem in the UK? ›

The four most common chronic conditions in the UK for men and women were allergy, high blood pressure, low back disorder and depression; allergy was the most common reported chronic health condition in both men and women (30.4% and 36.0%, respectively).

Who suffers from mental health the most UK? ›

Today, women are three times more likely than men to experience common mental health problems. In 1993, they were twice as likely. Rates of self-harm among young women have tripled since 1993.

What country has the biggest problem with mental health? ›

Mental Health Statistics by Country
#CountryDepression Rate
111 more rows

Where does America rank in mental health in the world? ›

The United States ranks 29th in the world in prevalence of depressive disorders, with a rate of about 5%, or about 15 million Americans, estimated to have some form of depression. It is the largest country on the top 30 list of countries with the highest depression rates.

What is the biggest mental health issue in America? ›

The most common are anxiety disorders major depression and bipolar disorder. Below is more information on these disorders and how ACCESS can help. Remember you are not alone, and medical experts are here to support you.

What is an interesting fact about mental health in the UK? ›

  • 1 in 5 people in England (approximately 11.3 million adults) have suicidal thoughts [1]
  • 1 in 14 people in England (approximately 4 million adults) self-harm. [ ...
  • 1 in 15 people in England (approximately 3.7 million adults) attempt suicide. [ ...
  • 46% of people who die by suicide had a known mental health condition. [

Why is it so hard to get mental health care in the UK? ›

The UK's mental health crisis: why people are struggling to access therapy. Covid-19 lockdown measures, time, cost and stigma are barriers to getting treatment. Living through the coronavirus pandemic – and now through a third national lockdown – is having a profound effect on people's mental health.

Does the UK have a mental health crisis? ›

'Today's new data from the Office for National Statistics, which reveals that depression rates have doubled since the COVID-19 pandemic began, forewarns of a growing mental health crisis in the UK.

How should I start my essay? ›

Avoid long, dense sentences—start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader's curiosity. The hook should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of the topic you're writing about and why it's interesting. Avoid overly broad claims or plain statements of fact.

What is a short paragraph about mental health? ›

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

What is a good conclusion for mental health? ›

People should be aware of the consequences of mental illness and must give utmost importance to keeping the mind healthy like the way the physical body is kept healthy. Mental and physical health cannot be separated from each other. And only when both are balanced can we call a person perfectly healthy and well.

What are the health challenges in the UK? ›

Health matters: public health issues
  • Cold weather and COVID-19.
  • Air pollution.
  • Alcohol.
  • Antimicrobial resistance.
  • Bowel cancer.
  • Cardiovascular disease prevention.
  • Cervical screening.
  • Child dental health.

Is the UK health system better than us? ›

The British view of their own health care system is much more positive than Americans' about the U.S. system A 54% majority of Brits call their system either the world's best (12%) or among the best (42%).

How many people in the UK struggle with mental health? ›

The 2014 survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing in England found that 1 in 6 people aged 16+ had experienced symptoms of a common mental health problem, such as depression or anxiety, in the past week. Women were more likely than men to be experiencing common mental disorders. Prevalence has increased since 1993.

How common is depression in the UK? ›

Depression is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders, affecting around 1 in 6 adults in the UK. It is also associated with other mental health issues, such as anxiety, stress and loneliness. Research shows that women are twice as likely to experience depression than men.

How many people in the UK have bad mental health? ›

One in four adults and one in 10 children experience mental illness, and many more of us know and care for people who do.

Does the US have the worst mental health in the world? ›

The United States has some of the worst mental health-related outcomes, including the highest suicide rate and second-highest drug-related death rate.

What country has the most anxiety? ›

Sociologists who measure anxiety levels of entire nations have concluded that the US is, by far, the most anxious nation on Earth. About one in three Americans can be expected to suffer anxiety at some point in their lifetime, compared with one in four Colombians, who occupy the second world-anxiety slot.

Which countries have the happiest mental health? ›

According to the report, which used data from Gallup, the top 10 happiest countries are: Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Luxembourg and New Zealand. The U.S. was ranked 15th on the list.

What are the top 3 mental health issues in the US? ›

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 1 in every 5 Americans is currently living with a mental illness. Of those, the three most common diagnoses are anxiety disorders, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Why does the United States have the most mental health issues? ›

Mental illness has risen in the United States, with about 20% of people in the country experiencing some form of it. The increase is due to the rise in social media, the COVID-19 pandemic, and societal trends that have resulted in smaller family units and less community involvement.

How bad is the mental health crisis in America? ›

In 2019-2020, 20.78% of adults were experiencing a mental illness. That is equivalent to over 50 million Americans.

Who is most likely to receive mental health treatment in the US? ›

Considering age, those between 18 and 44 years are more likely to receive counseling or therapy than older adults, however older adults are more likely to take medication to treat their mental health issues.

What are 3 facts about mental health? ›

Depression symptoms can impact performance in school and interfere with personal relationships. Most Americans lack access to adequate mental health treatment. 54.7% of American adults with mental illness did not receive care in the last year. Mental illnesses can affect people of any age, race, religion, or income.

What is the difference between mental health and mental illness UK? ›

Mental health refers to our emotional and psychological wellbeing. It is influenced by our life experiences. This can impact the way we think, feel and behave. Mental illness encompasses a wide range of disorders often caused by genes or brain chemistry.

How important is mental health in the UK? ›

Our mental health is at least as important as our physical health. It strongly affects our daily lives – how they feel to us, as well as our ability do the things we need and want to, including work, study, getting on with people and looking after ourselves and others.

How do you deal with mental health issues UK? ›

You or they should contact a GP or NHS 111. They can also contact the Samaritans immediately by calling 116 123 (UK) for free anytime. They could also get help from their friends, family, or mental health services. You can ask how they feel and let them know you are available to listen.

Does the UK have free mental health care? ›

Mental health services are free on the NHS. Your mental health is important and you should get help if you need it.

Is there enough mental health support in the UK? ›

There are not enough mental health beds in England and patients are being sent far from home for treatment as a result.

Is mental health at an all time high UK? ›

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has highlighted the sharp rise in mental ill health, that began after the first lockdown in March 2020, in an analysis of NHS and Office for National Statistics data.

What is the most common mental health problem? ›

Depression. Impacting an estimated 300 million people, depression is the most-common mental disorder and generally affects women more often than men.

What are the most common mental health disorders in youth UK? ›

One in six (16.9%) young people aged 17-19 had a mental health disorder in 2017. The sharpest prevalence rise for children aged 5-15 has been within emotional disorders (for example: anxiety, depression, OCD, phobias), increasing from 4.3% to 5.8% from 1999 to 2017.

What is the most popular mental health problem? ›

Right now, nearly 10 million Americans are living with a serious mental disorder. The most common are anxiety disorders major depression and bipolar disorder.

How does the UK handle mental health issues? ›

Mental health is available for free on the NHS in all three bands – children, adult, and the aged. Both psychiatrists and psychologists are part of the system. As in the US, psychiatrists hold a medical degree that allows them to prescribe medication, while psychologists use talk therapy techniques.

Is mental health increasing in the UK? ›

In 2021/22, 1.81 million people were referred to IAPT, 1.24 million entered treatment, and 688,000 finished a course of treatment. The number of referrals was a rise on the previous year (1.41 million) and 2019/20 (1.69 million). Source: NHS Digital, Psychological Therapies, Annual IAPT Report 2021/22.

How common is anxiety UK? ›

In any given week in England, 6 in 100 people will be diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder (Mind) In the UK, over 8 million people are experiencing an anxiety disorder at any one time (Mental Health UK) Less than 50% of people with generalised anxiety disorder access treatment (Mental Health Foundation)

What percentage of the UK is depressed? ›

In autumn 2022, around 1 in 6 (16%) adults aged 16 years and over reported moderate to severe depressive symptoms (Figure 1).

How many children suffer from mental health issues in the UK? ›

Key findings

In 2022, 18.0% of children aged 7 to 16 years and 22.0% of young people aged 17 to 24 years had a probable mental disorder.

How many children suffer from anxiety in the UK? ›

Nearly 300,000 young people in Britain have an anxiety disorder. In the UK, anxiety disorders are estimated to affect 5-19% of all children and adolescents, and about 2-5% of children younger than 12. Separation anxiety is the most common anxiety disorder in children younger than 12.

What is the leading cause of mental health issues in the United States? ›

Abuse. One of the most well-known causes of mental illness is abuse. This can include physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse and can also involve bullying or neglect. Abuse can occur in childhood or adulthood.


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