Essential facts, stats and quotes relating to mental health

Published on: 23rd May 2016 | Updated on: 13th April 2022

This page contains facts, stats and quotes that LPC members may find useful when writing business cases or developing resources to support the commissioning of an emergency supply of medicines (at NHS expense) service.

This page is ‘work in progress’ and will continue to be updated with new facts, stats and quotes.

Facts, stats and quotes on other topics can be accessed on the Essential facts, stats and quotes page.

The five year forward view for mental health (February 2016)

Mental health problems in the UK:

  • Half of all mental health problems have been established by the age of 14, rising to 75% by age 24.
  • One in ten children aged 5 – 16 has a diagnosable problem such as conduct disorder (6%), anxiety disorder (3%), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (2%) or depression (2%).
  • Children from low income families are at highest risk, three times that of those from the highest.
  • Those with conduct disorder – persistent, disobedient, disruptive and aggressive behaviour – are twice as likely to leave school without any qualifications, three times more likely to become a teenage parent, four times more likely to become dependent on drugs and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.
  • The average wait for routine appointments for psychological therapy was 32 weeks in 2015/16.
  • One in five mothers suffers from depression, anxiety or in some cases psychosis during pregnancy or in the first year after childbirth. Suicide is the second leading cause of maternal death, after cardiovascular disease.
  • People with severe and prolonged mental illness are at risk of dying on average 15 to 20 years earlier than other people.
  • There is also a lack of access to physical healthcare for people with mental health problems – less than a third of people with schizophrenia in hospital received the recommended assessment of cardiovascular risk in the previous 12 months.
  • One in five older people living in the community and 40% of older people living in care homes are affected by depression.
  • People in marginalised groups are at greater risk, including black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, disabled people, and people who have had contact with the criminal justice system, among others.
  • As many as nine out of ten people in prison have a mental health, drug or alcohol problem.
  • Suicide rates in England have increased steadily in recent years, peaking at 4,882 deaths in 2014. The rise is most marked amongst middle aged men. Suicide is now the leading cause of death for men aged 15–49. Men are three times more likely than women to take their own lives – they accounted for four out of five suicides in 2013.
  • A quarter of people who took their own life had been in contact with a health professional, usually their GP, in the last week before they died. Most were in contact within a month before their death.

Mental health care in the UK:

  • Nearly two million adults were in contact with specialist mental health and learning disability services at some point in 2014/15.
  • There is considerable variation in services, with a waiting time of just over six days in the best performing areas and 124 days in the worst performing areas in 2014/15.
  • Nine out of ten adults with mental health problems are supported in primary care.
  • Mental health accounts for 23% of NHS activity but NHS spending on secondary mental health services is equivalent to just half of this.
  • One-quarter of people using secondary mental health services do not know who is responsible for coordinating their care, and the same number have not agreed what care they would receive with a clinician.
  • Almost one-fifth of people with care coordinated through the Care Programme Approach (for people with more severe or complex needs) have not had a formal meeting to review their care in the previous 12 months.
  • Mental health accounts for 23% of NHS activity but NHS spending on secondary mental health services is equivalent to just half of this.
  • Poor mental health carries an economic and social cost of £105 billion a year in England.
  • Analysis commissioned by NHS England found that the national cost of dedicated mental health support and services across government departments in England totals £34 billion each year, excluding dementia and substance use.

Focus on the health and care of young people (June 2015)

  • In 2013/14 numbers of referrals to psychological therapies for 15-19 year olds were more than double for young women (34,000) in this age group, compared to young men (16,000).
  • A similar trend continues for those aged 20-24 with 77,000 referrals for females and 40,000 referrals for males.

Health Survey for England (December 2015)

  • 26% of adults reported having ever been diagnosed with at least one mental illness.

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