An annual health survey has indicated that more than one-in-four adults in the United Kingdom has been diagnosed with a mental illness at some point during their lives.
The survey assessed the mental health of 5,000 adults, with 26% stating that they have received a positive mental health diagnosis.
Depression was the most frequently reported mental illness, with nearly one-in-five (19%) people stating that they had been diagnosed with the condition.
It was notable that women were more likely to have been diagnosed with depression than men, although it should be said in mitigation that this could be due to females being more likely to visit general practitioners with such conditions.
Half of those who reported being diagnosed with a common mental disorder said that they had experienced the condition in the past 12 months.
In addition, around 10% of the population have engaged in what could be described as seriously self-destructive activity.
3% of men and 5% of women reported that they had self-harmed, while 4% of men and 7% of women reported suicide attempts.
Nearly one-quarter of women reported having experienced depression at some point during their lives, with post-natal depression making a serious contribution to the statistic.
According to the results of the survey, the chances of any individual being diagnosed with a common mental disorder are significantly high.
Nearly one-in-three women can expect to be diagnosed with a comment mental-health disorder at some stage during their lives.
And nearly one-in-five men will also experience mental disorders at some stage during their lives.
Attitudes and prejudice towards mental health were also examined by the research.
The survey found that 19% of adults thought “one of the main causes of mental illness is a lack of self-discipline and willpower”.
Commenting on the report, Rachel Craig, from the National Centre for Social Research which carried out study, was of the opinion that it revealed some deep-rooted mental health difficulties in the United Kingdom.
“This survey leaves us in no doubt as to the prevalence of mental ill health in England. Despite it affecting so many of us, prejudice against people with a mental illness still exists and there is some resistance to the provision of community care for people suffering with mental ill health. Men are more likely to hold prejudiced and less tolerant views than women. But there is evidence that if you know someone with a mental illness you are less likely to hold negative views.”
The study backs up the previous assertion that around 25 per cent of the UK population will experience mental health difficulties.
Suicides rates show that British men are three times as likely to die by suicide than British women and self-harm statistics for the UK show one of the highest rates in Europe: 400 per 100,000 population.