Common Mental Health Illnesses - The Statistics

 10th Aug 2016

Mental health is a topic which often takes second place in the shadow of conventional physical illnesses despite affecting a huge amount of people the world over.

So how common is it to have a mental health illness?

Here are some important statistics on three of the most widely known mental health conditions.


Diagnosed as a standalone illness, depression can affect around 5 in every 100 people, however; the amount of people at risk of developing mixed anxiety and depression has been known to be as high as 10%.

There are many aspects which can factor into a person’s susceptibility of developing depression with two of the most influential being career and age.

People in the age group of 50-54 are most likely to be affected by the disease and, furthermore, those who are not currently in paid work positions are at 8% higher risk than their salaried counterparts.

Relationships are another area of life which, naturally, play a huge part in the probability of developing depression.

Divorce and separation lead to a 27% chance of the onset of depression compared with just 16% for those either married or in a civil partnership.

Between 10-15% of women will suffer from postpartum depression (otherwise known as postnatal depression) which occurs after the birth of a child.

It must be noted; however, that postnatal depression does not affect females exclusively as up to 10% of new fathers will experience the condition each year too.


Anxiety affects around 3 million people in the UK alone with women being twice as likely to develop the condition.

In addition, around 10% of people will be affected by a disabling anxiety disorder in the United Kingdom in any one year.

Disabling anxiety disorders are when a person’s symptoms become so severe they begin to have serious, detrimental effects on their day to day life and can prevent them from functioning properly in environments such as the work place or even social situations.

Furthermore, those suffering from anxiety are at an increased risk of developing additional disorders as, in a survey conducted by Anxiety UK, 70% of respondents were identified as displaying symptoms of at least 3 anxiety conditions.

Another common anxiety disorder is obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) which causes an individual to have persistent thoughts which become routine and can lead to implications in their daily life.

Affecting as much as 2.5% of people, OCD can cause frustration and obsession with aspects such as hygiene, safety and even the integrity of relationships.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder is a condition characterised by unusually high fluctuations in energy and mood which are markedly different to those experienced by most people.

Whilst not as prevalent as depression or anxiety, this mental health illness is present in 2.6% of the US population and 82.9% of these cases are reportedly classed as ‘severe’.

This separates the illness from other conditions which many people experience in only mild forms as the majority of bipolar disorder diagnoses are treated as very serious and even long term.

Whereas depression is most common in middle age, the average age of onset for bipolar disorder is much earlier at 25 years old with people being at 5.9% risk between the ages of 18 and 29.

This is further backed by the fact that 55.5% of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder are actively receiving a form of healthcare over a continuous 12-month period in America which can include the provision of treatment including medication and therapies.

Encompass are a registered charity which provides a range of professional care services to help improve the lives of people living with either an enduring mental health condition of learning disabilities.

Find out how the Encompass team can help you or a loved one by clicking here.

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