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Revealed: mental health prevalence by region


15 January 2016

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Prevalence of mental illness was highest in the North East, and East Midlands, while generally lowest in the West Midlands and the South West, new chapters of National Statistics Health Survey for England revealed today.

Similarly, the East of England and the South East also had high prevalence while rates were generally lower in the West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, and London.

Prevalence of mental illness was highest in the North East, and East Midlands, while generally lowest in the West Midlands and the South West, new chapters of National Statistics Health Survey for England revealed today.

Similarly, the East of England and the South East also had high prevalence while rates were generally lower in the West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, and London.

Mental ill health is the leading cause of disability in the UK; it accounts for 28% of the national burden of disease and carries estimated economic costs of between £70-100 billion per year.

In the North East 31% of adults (aged 16 and over) were observed as having a common mental disorder, and 29% have in the East of England. (A ‘common disorder’ includes phobia, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder). This is compared to 18% in London and 22% in the South West.

This observed data can be used to examine actual prevalence or mean values within a region, needed, for example, for planning services.

The most frequently reported mental illness ever diagnosed was depression, including post-natal depression, with 19% of adults (13% of men, 24% of women) reporting this. The next most frequently reported conditions ever diagnosed were panic attacks, mentioned by 8% of adults, and generalised anxiety disorder, mentioned by 6%.

People with long-term conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are two to three times more likely to experience mental health problems, according to the report.

North East England also had the highest rate of diagnosed common mental disorders, with 33%, compared to 22% in London and 23% in the South West.

Men and women living in lower income households were more likely to report ever having been diagnosed with a mental illness than those living in higher income households (27% of men and 42% of women in the lowest income quintile compared with 15% of men and 25% of women in the highest). There was a similar pattern for area deprivation

In terms of age, prevalence of ever being diagnosed with a mental illness was highest between 25-74, peaking in the 55-64 year age group (25% for men and 41% for women). It was lowest among the oldest age groups (10% in 75-84 year group and 12% among those aged 85 and over for men, and 19% in those aged 85 and over for women).

See the full chapter here.

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