One thing a lot of people want to know is the trends within mental illnesses across the globe. Which countries have the most cases?
Often, countries with the fewest mental health providers also face other significant social challenges. Including violence, poverty, forced migration, social unrest, and political instability.
Mental Health Disorders are the Most Neglected Global Health Problems
Several global initiatives spearhead by the World Health Organization (WHO), has garnered the attention of health ministers. This resulted in more investments, resources, and political commitments devoted to global mental health.
Mental disorders are known to occur at a much younger age as compared to most chronic physical disorders. Some anxiety disorders, most notably the phobias and separation anxiety disorder, occurs in patients with a median age between 7–14 years old.
The other common anxiety disorders (panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post traumatic stress disorder) occur to patients age between 25 and 50. Substance use disorders occur between the ages of 20 and 35. The global trend on the occurrence of mental problems is shifting toward the young, and this means higher emphasis and detection among the younger population is required.
What are the Global Statistics Related to Mental Issues for Adults?
Most prominently, there is a widening global gap between the mental health of young women and young men. Women age between 16 and 24 are almost three times more likely to experience a common mental health problem. Meanwhile, men have higher rates of self-harm, bipolar disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder.
Mid-life adults experience a noticeable increase in the prevalence of common mental health problems for both men and women between the ages of 55 and 64. 66% of adults that receive social support reported common mental health problems. And the same percentage reported having suicidal thoughts.
More than 40% had made a suicide attempt, and 33% reported self-harming, indicating that this is a population in great need of targeted support. Despite an increase in people accessing mental health treatment, there is more than 33% of these adults that sought no professional help at all.
People With a Mental Health Condition are More Likely to Self-Harm
Interestingly, people with a mental health condition have a higher tendency of 3,876% more likely to harm themselves than others. 45% of them have reported being victims of crime. Where 20% reported having experienced a violent assault.
Female patients are ten times more likely to experience an attack as compared to women who are not experiencing mental issues. Unfortunately, patients have reported that police unfairly treated them compared to the general population.
Many mental issues arose from the social-economic situations for these patients, where these unfortunate cases go undetected and untreated. The current global COVID outbreak is making the situation worse for many existing and new mental-related disorder patients.
Acknowledging the dire psychological situation and empathy would allow us to handle this global mental disorder pandemic better and provide the appropriate care to contain these mental illnesses.
Mental Health Statistics in the United States:
According to the 2019 US State of Mental Health Report, over 44 million American adults (18.07%), have a mental health condition as compared to 18.19% in 2015.
But, the rate of youth experiencing a mental health issue continued rising, and 62% of teens and children with a major depressive episode received no treatment.
Although access to mental healthcare is improving, most Americans still have no access. 12.2% (5.3 million) of adults with mental illness remain uninsured. While 56.4% of adults with a mental illness received no treatment. Over 24 million individuals experiencing a mental health illness are going untreated.
Mental Health Statistics in Great Britain:
According to the last 2015 survey done in the UK on mental health, general anxiety disorder occurs in 5.9% of the population. Depression occurs in 3.3%, phobias 2.4%, obsessive-compulsive disorder 1.3%, posttraumatic stress disorder 4.4%, and mixed anxiety and depression at 7.8%.
The estimated total mental illness exceeds 25% of the population throughout the lifetime. Reports from the UK suggest that only 12.5% of adults with a mental illness are currently receiving treatment. And medication as the most common form of treatment for a mental health problem.
Mental Health Statistics in Canada:
Reports from Canada do not differ much from their western peers in the US and UK. At any given year, 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental health problem or illness. The problem affects people of all ages, qualifications, income levels, and cultural backgrounds.
By age 40, 50% of the Canadian population have had a mental illness, and notably, the mental health patients are getting younger. However, less than 20% of Canadian mental patient receives treatment despite Canada being one of the top industrialized nations in the world.
Mental Health Statistics in Australia:
In Australia, one in five (20%) Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year. The most common mental illnesses are depressive, anxiety, and substance use disorder.
These three types of mental illnesses often occur in combination. Of the 20% of Australians with a mental illness in any one year, 11.5% have one disorder, and 8.5% have two or more disorders. Almost half (45%) Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime
54% of people with mental illness do not have access to any treatments. This is worsened by delayed treatment due to severe problems in detection and accurate diagnosis. The proportion of people with mental illness accessing treatment is half that of people with physical disorders
Why Do We See Such High Numbers in Western Countries?
Apart from the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, Europe is also troubled with an increasing number of mention illness with more than 165 million cases or 38% of the population.
With only 33% of people with a mental health condition seeking treatment, mental disorders have caused a large economic and social burden. Unfortunately, mental disorders have become the single most considerable healthcare challenge of the modern era.
People are getting mental disorders at a younger age as compared to the older generation. Common mental disorders such as anxiety and depressions are exceeding 10% of the population in western countries in any year, and the numbers are increasing.
Researchers Argue Gene Variants as Causes of Mental Disorders
Many researchers argued on gene variants as potential causes of mental disorders, but such “malfunction” DNAs might only indicate possible causes.
However, the life experiences of many psychiatric disorders have direct correlations to abuse, trauma, stress, domestic violence, adverse childhood experience, bullying, conflict, social isolation, or substance abuse.
Due to the prevalent diagnostic and detection means, many western countries can identify such alarming numbers of mental disorder cases. However, the absolute number of cases in many other developing and third world countries could be way more than the reported numbers.
What’s the Key Takeaway Here?
So, what is the key takeaway from these mental health trends? There is NO shame in seeking treatment for mental illness, which is so prevalent in so many countries. At any point in any year, more than 10% of the population is suffering from these mental illnesses.
However, the other challenge lies in individual pain tolerance for mental illness. Enduring too much of these mental pains could consume the hearts and minds of the individual, which might result in more drastic actions or remedies. So, it pays to treat these mental illnesses while the conditions are still mild.
Common Excuses for Not Getting Treatment
Common excuses such as the (a) lack of transportation, (b) unwilling to be known to others, (c) the effect on a job prospect, (d) confidentiality, (e) treatment unable to help, (f) concern about opinions of others, (g) unable to find the time, (h) committed to medications, (i) no idea where to seek help, (j) no insurance coverage, (k) time will heal, (l) and couldn’t afford the costs, are prevalent among mental patients in seeking treatments.
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