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UK adults accept mental health issues as the norm

Published: 11 May 2016

Ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week (16-22 May), our research has found large numbers of UK adults who experience mental health issues are not seeking help, with many too embarrassed to do so. Stress, anxiety and depression are the most common mental health conditions experienced in the past year.


Of those who experienced stress, 55% did not seek support, while nearly half did not seek help for anxiety. More people are taking action on depression, but around three in ten of those suffering with this in the last year still did not ask for support. In total, 12 million adults in the UK suffered from stress, anxiety or depression in the past year and did not seek help*. 

The stigma associated with having a mental health problem could be preventing people from seeking help: 32% of UK adults agree they would be too embarrassed to tell people if they had a mental health issue. This rises to 42% of those who have experienced mental health problems before.


Men are less likely than women to seek help for anxiety and depression, whereas men are more likely than women to seek help for stress. Of those who have personally experienced a mental health condition, over a third have now successfully recovered and a similar proportion say their condition is being managed effectively. However, 17% do not feel they are getting the right treatment.


*According to the survey, 24% of UK adult population (aged 18 and over) suffered from stress, anxiety or depression in the last year and did not seek help. 24% of 50,909,098 is 12 million people.
Population figures from ONS table MYE2: Population Estimates by single year of age and sex for local authorities in the UK, mid-2014.

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