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Mental illness affects 38 percent of Europeans, study shows

September 7, 2011

A rigorous study has determined that 38% of people in Europe will at some point suffer from some form of mental illness. The figure doesn’t necessarily indicate that Europeans are more susceptible to mental illness, but rather the seemingly high figure is a function of the thoroughness of the study i.e. we might suspect that similarly thorough studies could well reveal similar levels in other populations.

The other figure of interest that emerges from the study is that only a third of those who suffer from mental distress will actually seek or receive treatment. In an artical about the study in New Scientist:

Psychiatric illness is now the biggest source of ill health in Europe. Almost 40 per cent of the region’s population – around 165 million people – experience a mental disorder each year, such as depression or anxiety, yet only a third receive treatment, according to a study published this week.

Anxiety topped the league, accounting for 14 per cent of cases, followed by insomnia and depression, with 7.0 and 6.9 per cent respectively.

Improvements since the Europe-wide mental health survey in 2005 have been patchy and isolated, despite pledges to improve diagnosis and treatment, says Hans-Ulrich Wittchen at the Technical University of Dresden in Germany, who led the new, three-year study of people’s mental health in 30 EU countries.


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