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Women’s mental health worsening

Women's mental health is worsening with more suffering from depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts, says a report from The NHS Information Centre (NHS IC) today.

The Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, 2007 was carried out for The NHS IC by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) in collaboration with the University of Leicester and provides data on the prevalence of both treated and untreated psychiatric disorders among those aged 16 and over in England.

It examines the prevalence of key conditions, such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, personality disorders, gambling and drug and alcohol misuse across gender, age, ethnic group, marital status and adjusted household income.

Across all conditions, the survey showed nearly one in four people (23%) in England experience at least one psychiatric disorder and that those affected were more likely to have a lower adjusted household income.

The report is the latest in a series of surveys which took place previously in 1993 and 2000. For the first time in the series, the 2007 survey covered people aged 75 and over and provides the first national research on the prevalence of psychiatric disorder in older people living in private households.

It showed that among over 75s, common mental disorders (CMDs) were higher among women than among men (12.2% of women and 6.3% of men).

The 2007 survey also includes three disorders that have never been measured in a household survey across the English adult population before: eating disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It also includes information about gambling for the first time.
Chief Executive of The NHS Information Centre, Tim Straughan, said: "The report suggests that women's mental health has been worsening in recent times.

"For men, the picture is less clear and there appears to have been no significant statistical change in common mental disorders. The findings from this report will greatly improve our understanding of the position and trends in adult mental health, including women being affected in increasing numbers."

NHS Information Centre

We asked you to tell us if you are surprised by the findings. Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"NO, particularly among nurses. I was a mental health nurse who was assaulted by a patient and did not get any support from colleagues which added to my mental health issues." - Janet Kirkwood, Aylesbury