• A recent index of 301 diseases, globally, found mental health problems to be one of the main causes of the overall disease burden worldwide.
  • According to the 2013 Global Burden of Disease study, the predominant mental health problem worldwide is depression, followed by anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
  • In 2013, depression was the second leading cause of years lived with disability worldwide, behind lower back pain. In 26 countries, depression was the primary driver of disability.
  • Depressive disorders also contribute to the burden of suicide and heart disease on mortality and disability; they have both a direct and an indirect impact on the length and quality of life.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that between 35% and 50% of people with severe mental health problems in developed countries, and 76 – 85% in developing countries, receive no treatment.
  • Nearly half (43.4%) of adults in the UK think that they have had a diagnosable mental health condition at some point in their life (35.2% of men and 51.2% of women). A fifth of men (19.5%) and a third of women (33.7%) have had diagnoses confirmed by professionals.
  • In 2014, 19.7% of people in the UK aged 16 and older showed symptoms of anxiety or depression – a 1.5% increase from 2013. This percentage was higher among females (22.5%) than males (16.8%).
  • In 2014, suicide was the leading cause of death for men under 50 years of age in England and Wales, and for women aged 20–34.71 The demographic with the highest suicide rate (of 23.9 per 100,000 population) was men aged 45–59.
  • The number of hospital admissions due to intentional self-harm has been rising over the last decade, from 91,341 in September 2005–August 2006 to 112,096 in September 2014–August 2015 – a decrease of 1.8% from the previous 12-month period, when there were 114,105 admissions.
  • People with severe mental health problems are much more likely to harm themselves than they are to harm others. In 2013, 1,876 suicides were recorded among mental health inpatients in the UK, compared to 51 homicides.
  • People with mental health problems are more likely to be victims of violence than those without mental health problems.
  • A review of joint inspections undertaken by the Healthcare Commission and HM Inspectorate of Probation in 2009 found that 43% of young people aged 18 or younger on community orders have emotional and mental health needs.[1]
  • 93 per cent of people from Black and Minority Ethnic communities who have mental health problems face discrimination because of them.[2]
  • There is a tendency for different types of news and information media to present mental illnesses in a way that promotes stigma (e.g., by conflating it with violence and crime) and/or perpetuates myths about mental illness (e.g., by presenting information that is inaccurate about, say, treatment and prognosis).
  • A review found that mass media stigma reduction campaigns, web‐based mental health literacy programs and documentary films can all have positive effects, particularly if they include personalised stories (as opposed to education alone).[3]
  • Civic engagement is associated with a more positive outlook, greater well-being and lower prevalence of anxiety or depression[4]
  • Cinema attendance can be both a personally expressive experience, good fun, and therapeutic at the same time.
  • In a rather groundbreaking study, Konlaan, Bygren and Johansson found that frequent cinema attendees have particularly low mortality risks – those who never attended the cinema had mortality rates nearly 4 times higher than those who visit the cinema at least occasionally.
  • IsoAhola and Park found that social leisure activities promoted better mental health than non-social leisure activities.[5]

[1] The Mental Health Foundation – Fundamental Facts about Mental Health 2016
[2] Black and Minority Ethnic communities faced with double the levels of discrimination
[3] Hunter Institute of Mental Health: Mental illness in the news and information media
[4] Donovan, Halpern, and Sargeant 2002; Putnam 2001
[5] Institute for Social and Economic Research – Cinema is good for you


Mind provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

The Mental Health Foundation is the UK’s charity for everyone’s mental health. With prevention at the heart of what they do, they aim to find and address the sources of mental health problems.

SANE is a leading UK mental health charity, working to improve quality of life for anyone affected by mental illness.

Heads Together is a mental health initiative spearheaded by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, which combines a campaign to tackle stigma and change the conversation on mental health with fundraising for a series of innovative new mental health services.

Young Minds is leading the fight for a future where all young minds are supported and empowered, whatever the challenges. They aim to ensure young people get the best possible mental health support and have the resilience to overcome life’s difficulties.

CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) is leading a movement against male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.

Mental Health UK brings together four national mental health charities working across the UK, which have 40 years’ experience of working to improve life for people affected by mental illness in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland:

Rethink Mental Illness directly supports tens of thousands of people in England every year, whether they are experiencing depression or anxiety for the first time, or require long-term support to cope with bipolar disorder, psychosis or schizophrenia.

Zero Suicide Alliance is a collaborative of National Health Service trusts, businesses and individuals who are all committed to suicide prevention in the UK and beyond. The alliance is ultimately concerned with improving support for people contemplating suicide by raising awareness of and promoting free suicide prevention training which is accessible to all.

Support in Mind Scotland aims to improve the quality of life of anyone whose mental health problem or mental illness has a serious impact on their life or the lives of others including families, carers and supporters.

Hafal is Wales’ leading charity for people with serious mental illness and their carers.

MindWise is a leading mental health charity in Northern Ireland delivering over 30 services.

Time to Change is the growing social movement changing how we all think and act about mental health. Still too many people are made to feel ashamed or isolated because they have a mental health problem but we’re here to change that.

They also have a list of further mental health support organisations.