A survey conducted by the British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy (BACP) has revealed that anxiety and depression are endemic in Britain.
Alarmingly, two thirds of those surveyed had experienced anxiety or depressive episodes while 9 out of 10 admitted at least one episode of depression in their life.
Apart from concerns about the mental health, the medical and social cost associated with these mental health disorders is enormous. For example, more than £10 billion is being robbed out of the economy every year, by depression alone. Although in most of the cases, the situation can be dealt with effectively by the individual himself, one in 5 visit the doctor to seek medical help. One in 10 consult a therapist.
Relationship problems account for depression or anxiety in nearly 44% of the cases. Overwork and lack of proper relaxation is to be blamed for another 44%. About 1 in three who had consulted a therapist was suffering bereavement. Financial constraints remain the next single contributor of depression. The problem was seen to be prevalent among individuals of all ages.
Exams, jobs, house prices haunt the younger generation. Youthful optimism seems to be lost in the race, reveals the survey. In men under 35, suicide is the most common reason for death. The constant search for success, a feeling of inadequacy, helplessness which complement the 24/7 lifestyle is to be blamed, to a large extent.
Furthermore, those aged 35 to 44 were the most likely (72 per cent) to admit having suffered from either depression or anxiety. Women are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, compared to men (73% Vs 59% respectively). They were also more likely to suffer from multiple symptoms related to the mental health disorder.
Out of those who admitted at least one episode of anxiety or depression, 1/3 rd had depression severe enough to warrant consultation with a therapist. Although several studies conducted previously had showed that men are less likely to suffer from depression compared to women, this study highlights that the trend is changing. Men are closely competing with women in this aspect as well.
What is more alarming is that despite the widespread prevalence of depression, 55% of them had never discussed the condition with their family or friends. A majority of them resorted to drugs or other forms of therapy as they felt open discussions to be of very low value. In view of the above situation, it is high time that the government institutes appropriate measures to protect the mental health of its citizens. After all, health is a state of complete mental, physical and emotional well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, according to the WHO.