The term ‘mental health problems’ covers a range of conditions ranging from anxiety, depression through to severe and enduring mental illness. While some people will recover quickly, for others it will take much longer.
Good mental health is fundamental to our wellbeing, yet mental health conditions are commonplace, and living with the burden of a mental illness can exact a heavy price on individuals and those who care for them. It is well recognised that good mental health is linked to good physical health.
Why have we chosen mental health?
Over half of all 16 – 64 year olds meet the diagnostic criteria for at least one common mental health problem. It is estimated that 19% of women and 14% of men are affected by depression or anxiety at some time in their lives. The estimates suggest that 15% of people will experience disabling depression and 1% of the population will have a severe mental illness. About 10% of children also have a mental health problem.
In Leicester the number diagnosed with depression is approximately 36,000. Those with a mental health disorder (schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder and other psychosis) are 3,378 (0.9%) and those with dementia are 1,310 (0.5%).
There are many risk factors associated with mental illness, for example, deprivation and poor lifestyle. Both are evident in Leicester.
Leicester has more people receiving incapacity benefit because of mental illness than other locations in England. More people are admitted to hospital with alcohol related problems which are often associated with mental illness.
When the public was asked about priorities for CCGs, they rated improving mental health services as high.