Mental health facts and statistics

Key facts and statistics on mental health problems and issues.

How common are mental health problems?

Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year [1].

In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week [2].

Are mental health problems increasing?

The overall number of people with mental health problems has not changed significantly in recent years, but worries about things like money, jobs and benefits can make it harder for people to cope.

It appears that how people cope with mental health problems is getting worse as the number of people who self-harm or have suicidal thoughts is increasing [2].

How common are specific problems?

Every seven years a survey is done in England to measure the number of people who have different types of mental health problems [2]. It was last published in 2016 and reported these figures:

Estimates for bipolar disorder, psychotic disorder and personality disorders are usually measured over a person's lifetime, rather than each year. Estimates for the number of people with these diagnoses can vary quite a lot but the most recent reported findings are [2]:

*Measured over the last year.

The survey also measures the number of people who have self-harmed, had suicidal thoughts or have made suicidal attempts over their lifetime:

  • Suicidal thoughts 20.6 in 100 people
  • Suicide attempts 6.7 in 100 people
  • Self-harm 7.3 in 100 people

Note: these statistics have been taken from studies that have surveyed people living in private housing in England [2]. The figures do not include the number of people experiencing mental health problems in hospitals, prisons, sheltered housing or people who are homeless. Therefore these figures may underestimate the prevalence of mental health problems.

How accessible is treatment?

Reports from both England [2] and Wales [3] suggest that approximately 1 in 8 adults with a mental health problem are currently receiving treatment. Medication is reported as the most common type of treatment for a mental health problem [2].

References

[1] McManus, S., Meltzer, H., Brugha, T. S., Bebbington, P. E., & Jenkins, R. (2009). Adult psychiatric morbidity in England, 2007: results of a household survey. The NHS Information Centre for health and social care.

[2] McManus S, Bebbington P, Jenkins R, Brugha T. (eds.) (2016). Mental health and wellbeing in England: Adult psychiatric morbidity survey 2014. Leeds: NHS digital.

[3] Welsh Health Survey 2015: Health status, illness, and other conditions.

This information was published in April 2017.

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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