What is Mental Health?

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) the definition of the term ‘Mental Health’ is a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to her or his (their) community.

Everybody has mental health, and everybody will almost certainly have issues with their mental health over their lifetime just like most will have an issue with their physical health.  Mental illness is something that some people may develop but there is always hope and recovery is possible and likely with support and treatment (in some cases).

Mental Health Statistics

  • 1 in 4 people experience mental health issues each year
  • 792 million people are affected by mental health issues worldwide
  • At any given time, 1 in 6 working-age adults have symptoms associated with mental ill health
  • Mental illness is the second-largest source of burden of disease in England. Mental illnesses are more common, long-lasting, and impactful than other health conditions
  • Mental ill health is responsible for 72 million working days lost and costs £34.9 billion each year
  • The total cost of mental ill health in England is estimated at £105 billion per year
  • People with a long-term mental health condition lose their jobs every year at around double the rate of those without a mental health condition. This equates to 300,000 people – the equivalent of the population of Newcastle or Belfast
  • 75% of mental illness (excluding dementia) starts before age 18
  • Men aged 40-49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK
  • 70-75% of people with diagnosable mental illness receive no treatment at all

Early recognition of mental health difficulties is important because the earlier the recognition, the earlier access to treatment and the more hope for recovery. Unfortunately, Stigma is a barrier when it comes to accessing support and treatment.

Stigma is the disapproval of, or discrimination against, an individual or group based on perceivable social characteristics that serve to distinguish them from other members of a society and although everybody may live with mental health difficulties, mental illness is something that people may be scared of and therefore not seek out support when it is needed.