Mental Health Foundation report: Surviving or Thriving? The State of the UK’s Mental Health

For Mental Health Awareness Week in May 2017, the Mental Health Foundation have published a report on the UK’s mental health (pdf).

The Foundation argues for a universal approach to support better mental health Рincluding placing greatest priority where the risks are greatest.

The report finds:

  • Only a small minority of people (13%) report living with high levels of good mental health
  • People over the age of 55 report experiencing better mental health than average
  • People aged 55 and above are the most likely to take positive steps to help themselves deal better with everyday life – including spending time with friends and family, going for a walk, spending more time on interests, getting enough sleep, eating healthily and learning new things
  • More than 4 in 10 people say they have experienced depression
  • Over a quarter of people say they have experienced panic attacks.
  • The most notable differences are associated with household income and economic activity – nearly 3 in 4 people living in the lowest household income bracket report having exprienced a mental health problem, compared to 6 in 10 of the highest household income bracket
  • The great majority (85%) of people out of work have experienced a mental health problem compared to two thirds of people in work and just over half of people who have retired
  • Nearly two-thirds of people say that they have experienced a mental health problem. This rises to 7 in every 10 women, young adults aged 18-34 and people living alone

And concluded:

  1. Current levels of good mental health are disturbingly low. The barometer of success of any nation is the health and wellbeing of its people. We have a long way to go before we can say that we are a thriving nation. Although we have made great strides in the health of our bodies and our life expectancy, we now need to achieve the same for the good health of our minds
  2. The survey suggests that our collective mental health is deteriorating. Overall most of us report experiencing a mental health problem in our lifetime. However, young adults report this at a higher level, despite having had fewer years in their lives to experience this. While there may be an element which reflects a greater ease at acknowledging a mental health problem, nevertheless this suggests a real and emerging problem. It is possible that it is linked to greater insecurities in life expectations for work, relationships and homes. The reasons and solutions warrant investigation
  3. The figures show that the experience of poor mental health, while touching every age and demographic, is not evenly distributed. If you are female, a young adult, on low income, living alone or in a large household, your risks of facing mental ill health are higher

Read a summary, or download the full report (pdf).