Up to half of adults suffer from mental illness

Britain's National Health Service (NHS) suggests that up to half of adults have suffered from some form of mental illness at some stage in their life. Data from the Health Survey for England reveals that 25 per cent of all adults have been diagnosed with a mental health problem, while a further 18 per cent believe they have suffered from one but have not seen a doctor for diagnosis. Mental health expert Andy Bell said more needed to be done for people to get the help they need. Mr Bell said: "[These] figures are another wake-up call for the NHS to ensure that mental health support is available for people who need it when they need it. Timely access to effective mental health treatment saves lives."

Researchers questioned 5,000 adults about their experiences. They found that 26 per cent of people said they had received a mental health illness diagnosis. According to the survey, depression was the most common form of mental illness, with 19 per cent of people saying they had suffered from the condition. Women are more likely to suffer from mental health problems than men. Over 40 per cent of middle-aged women have been diagnosed with an illness at some point in their life. A spokeswoman from the mental health charity Sane bemoaned the survey's findings. She said: "These are shocking figures…because the scale of mental illness is already known but too often ignored."