Mental ill-health is a growing problem in Wales. One in seven of the adult population of Wales reported being treated for mental ill-health in 1998, compared with one in nine in 1995.
In a 1996 World Health Organisation survey, one in five young people in Wales reported feeling ‘low or depressed’ once a week or more, rising to two in five for fifteen year old girls.
The extent of mental health problems is thrown sharply into focus by looking at suicide rates, which have increased over the past ten years, especially among 15-29 year old men.
Mental health can be affected by physical, psychological, social and environmental factors.
- Individual social circumstances such as employment status, housing, financial circumstances, life crises and social relationships affect mental well-being.
- The risk of developing mental ill-health is related to age, sex, marital status, and social class.
- Mental health problems can result from social disadvantage, and can also be a cause of social exclusion.