Mental health illness – how common is it?

According to statistics from NHS Digital, at any one time, a sixth of the population in England aged 16 to 64 have a mental health illness.  Whether family, friends, neighbours or work colleagues, the chances are we all know someone that is affected.

The figures, while worrying, in reality don’t even scratch the surface.  The study, which leaves out less common conditions – and is a snapshot in time, could be closer to a quarter of the population experiencing mental health illness on an annual basis.

Statistically, women are more likely than men to experience mental and emotional (not psychotic) illness. Research shows that 20 per cent of all adult women between the ages of 16 to 65 have ‘significant mental health problems’, as compared with 14 per cent of men between these ages.
However, women are more likely to seek, and be diagnosed, help for mental health problems.

Young people are particularly susceptible to mental health difficulties.

A number of theories have been put forward for this. The economic uncertainty of the past decade has particularly affected the young, making it harder to get on the career ladder.

As a result psychiatrists and mental health campaigners are increasingly raising questions about whether social media increases peer-group pressure and online bullying.

Other factors such as Homelessness and housing problems increase the chances of physical and mental illness. Homeless people are more likely to experience mental and emotional problems than the general population.

Types of mental health illness

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

Generalised anxiety disorder5.9 in 100 people
Depression3.3 in 100 people
Phobias  2.4 in 100 people
OCD 1.3 in 100 people
Panic disorder0.6 in 100 people
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)4.4 in 100 people
Mixed anxiety and depression7.8 in 100 people

Some mental illnesses can be caused by alcohol or drug abuse, while actually having a mental illness might lead someone to depend on alcohol or drugs as a coping strategy.

It is important to recognise that there are different types of depression.
A typical sign of depression is self-neglect or lack of self-care.

1) Stress anxiety
People suffering with anxiety typically have the following symptoms:
➡️ Inexplicable fear
➡️ Tearful and ‘clingy’
➡️ Feelings of being on edge or jumpy
➡️ Feelings of dread or pessimism
➡️ Nervous irritability and inability to relax or concentrate
➡️ Constantly seeking reassurance

2) Bipolar/manic depression
With bipolar disorder, sufferers typically experience periods of intense overactive (manic) behaviour and periods of extreme depression. There are several different types of bipolar disorder and symptoms may include:
➡️ Hallucinations
➡️ Delusions
➡️ Bizarre irrational feelings

3) Breakdown
Nervous breakdown broadly refers to an inability to cope with life. There are various forms of breakdown, some occur:
➡️ after extremely traumatic occurrences
➡️ after a specific incident or bereavement
➡️ following years of anxiety or depression

For the survey estimates for psychotic disorder, personality disorders and bipolar disorder are usually measured over an individuals lifetime, rather than annually.  Therefore estimates for the number of people with these diagnoses can vary quite a lot but the most recent reported findings are as follows;

Psychotic disorder 0.7 in 100 people*
Bipolar disorder 2.0 in 100 people
Antisocial personality disorder 3.3 in 100 people
Borderline personality disorder 2.4 in 100 people

*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 thoughts20.6 in 100 people
Suicide attempts6.7 in 100 people
Self-harm7.3 in 100 people

Schizophrenia is a type of psychotic illness.
Symptoms of psychosis

Typical psychotic symptoms are:
? Hearing, seeing or having a belief about things which other people cannot see or experience
? Having erratic, fleeting thoughts that are hard to express
? Difficulties relating to other people and everyday circumstances
? Sufferer lacks insight about what is happening
? Sufferer doesn’t believe that they are unwell

Other types of mental health illness

The types of condition described in this section are by no means exhaustive. There are many types of mental illness or condition and sufferers may experience varying degrees of severity.

Post traumatic stress disorder

Post traumatic stress disorder typically occurs after an event where a person has witnessed a death, or the threat of death.
Symptoms may range from panic attacks, nervous exhaustion, feelings of dread or horror and can limit the activity of the person with the condition.

Eating disorders

There are several types of eating disorder, including:
? Anorexia nervosa – food represents bad feelings, not eating becomes a way of controlling these bad feelings
? Bulimia nervosa – large quantities of food are eaten, before being purged through laxatives or induced vomiting
? Binge-eating – eating large quantities of food all at once as a reaction to a trauma, distress, or inability to cope

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

A person with OCD will typically be obsessed and compelled to carry out an inappropriate action (such as hand washing) or thought process excessively.
There may be acute awareness that the behaviour is unusual and feelings of anxiety about this.

Antisocial personality disorder

People with anti-social personality disorder fail to follow social norms regarding legal, respectful, or safe behaviour.
They may disregard the safety of other people or themselves, and display deliberate deceitful behaviour and a lack of guilt for their actions.

Time to change – Mental Health Illness Awareness

Although these statistics show an alarming increase in mental health issues today, the most promising development in terms of mental health is the changing attitude towards mental illness. A public campaign called Time To Change was launched in 2009 by leading charities Mind and Rethink.

Supported by the national lottery and UK government along the way the latest results from the National Attitudes to Mental Illness Survey, released in May 2018, showed people’s willingness to work, live with and live nearby someone with a mental problem has been improving in England over the last 3 years.

These include a;

•    9% increase in willingness to live with someone with a mental health problem (57% to 66%)
•    8% increase in willingness to live nearby to someone with a mental health problem (72% to 80%)
•    7% willingness to continue a relationship with a friend who had a mental health problem (82% to 89%)
•    7% increase in willingness to work with someone with a mental health problem (69% to 76%).

Campaigners have described the progress as pleasing but warn against complacency.

Despite the improvements, nearly nine in 10 people who have experienced mental health problems report they have suffered stigma and discrimination.

Attitudes towards Mental Health have come a long way but more awareness is still needed. At TutorCare we offer on-site training and an E-Learning course in Mental Health Awareness. The programme covers all aspects of mental health and is updated annually to include new treatments and developments in mental healthcare.

The E-Learning course is available today for £39+VAT and allows candidates to complete the course over a 12 month period. For more information either visit this link here – E Learning Mental Health Awareness Course or call 0333 920 6438.