The days when it was considered unusual or perhaps even a little strange to have a mental health problem have long gone. We've known for some time that mental health problems affect more people than might appear on official records but the sheer scale of the problem these days means we should be looking to ways to turn things around.
Recent research from the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology states that in any one year more than a third of the population of Europe suffer from a mental disorder. In old money that equates to 164 million people. The figures in their own right are dizzying, especially when we learn that anxiety disorders top the list (14%), followed by insomnia and depression (7% and 6.9% respectively). Our increasingly aged population means that dementia is becoming a bigger issue, with just over 5% of the population showing the signs and symptoms of dementia.
According to the study there has been a doubling of depressive episodes in women between the ages of 16 and 42. Many of the issues have been associated with changing roles. More women are working and trying to bring up a family. With divorce being more common it becomes harder to cope. Many women, the report suggests, become depressed if they feel they are not caring properly for their children.
It's not just the numbers that are causing concern. The diagnosis of people with some form of mental health problem is happening at ever younger ages. For example, around 90% of anxiety disorders now occur before the age of 18 where it used to be after 20.
One of the study authors, Hans-Ulrich Wittchen, says early detection is so important for successful treatment that some form of routine screening should be conducted in schools. Moreover, teachers should be specially trained in the recognition of signs that suggest a child or teenager is experiencing anxiety or other menal health problems.
Published On: September 06, 2011