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Women are more likely than men to have a common mental health disorder at 19.7% and 12.5% respectively. Only for panic disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder do women not have significantly higher rates than men. Erica Shires/Corbis Photograph: Erica Shires/Corbis
This year the Guardian and Observer Christmas appeal is on mental health. Our latest blog takes a look at the most prevalent psychiatric disorders in the UK
Thank you for your ongoing support, donations and thoughts – yesterday you donated £4,460, which combined with estimated gift aid takes the total so far to £35,397.
Over the next few weeks we plan to share with you the latest available data on mental health conditions, services and stigma.
The Time to Change campaign, set up by appeal charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, seeks to dispel the idea that mental health problems are experienced by a small minority – the statistics clearly show a different story.
So who is suffering and from what?
The latest comprehensive review of psychiatric disorders in the UK was published in 2009. It showed that over one year 23% of adults experienced one of the following disorders at some point over a single year: generalised anxiety disorder, mixed anxiety and depressive disorder, and obsessive and compulsive disorder.
The Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, commissioned by the NHS and carried out by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and the University of Leicester, is the primary data source on the prevalence of mental health conditions.
Their data reflects information gathered in a 2007 survey among adults over 16 in private households. In the week before the survey, 16.2% of adults had a common mental disorder, which includes a number of depression and anxiety disorders, including social anxiety and post traumatic stress. These are the most common mental health problems that cause distress and problems for people in their daily lives but do not affect their ability to think rationally.
The number of adults suffering from mixed anxiety and depressive disorder currently stands at 9%. This is when anxiety becomes a symptom of depression, whereby treatment often targets depression first and anxiety is potentially alleviated as a result.
Women are significantly more likely to experience common mental health disorders than men, with the exception of obsessive compulsive disorders and panic disorders.
NatCen is currently conducting its latest survey on psychiatric disorders and will publish its findings next year.
The Centre for Mental Health, one of the charities we are supporting in this year’s appeal, is anticipating the potential changes.
Andy Bell, Deputy Chief Executive said: “Research is not just an intellectual curiosity. This year’s new survey of mental health in the UK will indicate for the first time if more people have experienced mental health problems since the recession began. We genuinely don’t understand how it has impacted on the nation’s mental health, which is essential so that we can match needs with provision.”
“We still act as if ill mental health is something rare – but as the statistics show, it likely affects every family and every school in the country.”
The Centre for Mental Health carry out research and analysis, specialising in employment, criminal justice, children and recovery.
If you would like to support mental health research by donating to our appeal,you can do so here.