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MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS AND MEDICATION USAGE
In the 2007-08 NHS, people with moderate, high and very high levels of psychological distress were also far more likely to self-report a mental or behavioural disorder than people with low levels of distress. Around 21% of people with very high levels of distress reported an anxiety disorder, 63% reported an affective disorder, and 5.4% reported a substance use disorder (see graph 7 below and datacube table 16 for more detail).
Suicidal thoughts or behaviour
In 2007, there were over 360,000 people who had suicidal thoughts or had planned or attempted suicide in the last 12 months (see datacube table 17). People with very high levels of psychological distress were over ten times more likely to have had suicidal thoughts or behaviours in the last 12 months than the national average (25% compared with 2.3%), and people with high levels of distress were over five times more likely (13%).
Services and strategies used for mental health
In 2007, 1.8 million people accessed services for mental health in the past 12 months (including treatment in a hospital), 1.8 million consulted a health professional, and over 2 million people sought support from family or friends. Other services and strategies for mental health collected in the SMHWB include:
- using internet group/chat room/self-help sites;
- participating in group/phone counselling;
- increasing level of exercise or physical activity; and
- using alcohol or drugs.
Around 44% of people with high or very high levels of distress accessed services or saw a health professional for mental health in the past 12 months. While 27% of people with high or very high distress levels increased their physical activity to improve their mental health in this time, 18% used alcohol or drugs (see datacube tables 18a and 18b for more detail).
In general, people high or very high levels of psychological distress were more likely to take medication for mental health than the general population (47% compared with 12%). People with very high levels of distress were the most likely to take medication (see datacube table 19 for more detail). The most common types of medication taken by people with high or very high levels of distress were anti-depressants and sleeping pills.
People whose need for mental health services were only partially met in the last 12 months were more likely to have high or very high levels of psychological distress than people whose needs were fully met (46% compared with 25%)(see datacube table 20 for more detail).