New figures published by NHS Digital (formerly the Health and Social Care Information Centre) estimate the prevalence of mental health problems across the country.

The Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey is published every seven years and is based on the results of a household survey in England.

Some of the key findings from this survey are:

  • One in five women (19 per cent) had reported symptoms of common mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety disorders
  • One in five adults (21 per cent) reported that they had thought of taking their own life at some point
  • One in four 16 to 24 year old women (26 per cent) surveyed has self-harmed, more than twice the rate in young men (10 per cent).
  • One in three adults (37 per cent) with common mental health problems were accessing mental health treatment, in 2014

Responding to these results, Nicky Lidbetter, Chief Officer of Self Help, said:

“We welcome this new survey data by NHS Digital which provides a useful insight into the nation’s mental health.

“According to the figures, common mental health disorders appear to be on the rise. As such, it’s important that we continue to develop and deliver accessible and responsive services to meet this need in society.

“It’s particularly concerning to see the amount of women experiencing common mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, has risen. It’s difficult to know the exact reasons behind these changes and there is likely a wide-range of factors to consider.

“What we do know is that over 70% of people who take their own lives are not known to services and had not been in contact with their GP or a health professional about these feelings in the year before their suicide.

“Men, in particular, feel unable to access support and engage with services currently available. This may be the reason why men, of a particular age, feature so heavily in suicide stats.

“Therefore, there’s a growing need for more public health interventions that reach people who wouldn’t usually interact with mental health services.

“Recent data also suggests an increase in the amount of women experiencing abuse issues (emotional and/ or physical), which can have a serious impact on mental health.

“To counteract this, mental health services need to be more responsive in identifying these issues and providing the relevant support needed.”