Only 13 per cent of people are living with high levels of good mental health, the Mental Health Foundation has revealed, as it warns that the UK’s collective mental health is deteriorating.
The message comes as the foundation releases its Surviving or Thriving? The state of the UK’s mental health report to mark Mental Health Awareness week from 8-14 May.
A study conducted by NatCen, the social research institute, on behalf of the foundation suggested that nearly two-thirds of people have experienced a mental health problem, and this figure increased to seven in 10 among the women interviewed.
Researchers carried out online and telephone interviews with 2,290 individuals, aiming to understand the individuals’ experience of mental health and how they deal with it.
The data indicated that young adult females on low income face the highest risk of experiencing mental ill health.
The susceptibility of this demographic could be linked to greater insecurities in life expectations for work, relationships and homes, however, it could also point to greater ease of acknowledging mental health issues, the survey said.
With more than a quarter of respondents saying they have experienced panic attacks, and four in 10 reporting experiences of depression, the foundation cautioned that the current levels of good mental health in the UK 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,” the foundation wrote.
“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.
“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.”
The foundation has proposed, among other initiatives, more funding for mental health research, a yearly report to track how the UK is thriving mentally and the introduction of a National Thriving Mental Health programme to educate individuals on to look after their mental health.