Assessing the state of the UK’s mental health

This year’s World Mental Health Day offered an opportunity to consider some of the key issues facing those with conditions such as depression and anxiety and look at the challenges facing the support system in the UK.

Analysis shows that millions of Britons are affected by mental illness each year, with official figures having recently confirmed that a third of sickness notes handed out by GPs now relate to a mental health issue.

The data reveals that generalised anxiety disorder is the most common condition in this country, affecting almost six out of every 100 Britons in 2016.

Post-traumatic stress disorder affected around four out of 100 people, with depression, a chronic phobia and obsessive compulsive disorder among the other more common difficulties.

More worrying still is the fact that one in five British adults admitted they had experienced suicidal thoughts, with men aged 55-64 most likely to report such feelings.

Despite the many challenges, there is a sense that greater discussion has helped tackle some of the taboos relating to mental illness.

Paul Farmer, the chief executive of the leading charity Mind, told The Daily Telegraph that there had been a sea change in the extent to which people were comfortable raising the issue.

“Public awareness of mental health has improved dramatically in recent years, thanks in part to campaigns like Time to Change, run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness,” he said.

“More people now feel empowered to speak out about their experiences in schools, workplaces and in their communities.

“Prince Harry speaking candidly about his experiences earlier this year got the nation talking and helped reach new audiences who may not have engaged with the issue of mental health before. As a result of society’s new found openness we are starting to see for the first time the scale of the unmet need.”

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