Mental health in Northern Ireland Fundamental Facts 2016 – Mental Health Foundation
According to the Northern Ireland Health Survey 2014/15, 19% of individuals show signs of a possible mental health problem.
On average, more women (20%) than men (16%) report signs of mental health problems
Just 40% of individuals with any disorder received treatment in the previous 12 months
Between 2010/11 and 2014/15, the average number of available beds within the mental health programme of care (one of nine categories into which health and social care in NI is divided) in Northern Ireland decreased by 28.7% (235.3), from 821.4 to 586.0.5
According to prescribing trends, Northern Ireland has significantly higher levels of depression than the rest of the UK.
The prescription rate for mood and anxiety disorders (depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders) increased by 20% between 2009 and 2013.
Northern Ireland has consistently had significantly higher antidepressant prescribing costs per capita than other UK regions.
The number of suicides in Northern Ireland amounts to a rate of 16.4 per 100,000 population. This was the highest of the devolved nations in 2014, compared to 10.3 in England, 9.2 in Wales and 14.5 in Scotland.
The highest rate of suicide within the UK has been reported in males living in Northern Ireland (25.9 per 100,000 population in 2014, down from 29.3 in 2013).
The statistics also suggest that suicide is more prevalent in urban and deprived areas.
Trauma and Conflict
Evidence suggests that levels of poor mental health are in the upper end of the international scale within Northern Ireland due to the conflict that was experienced by the society.
60% of the respondents to the Northern Ireland Study of Health and Stress reported to having had experience of at least one traumatic event during their lifetime, with 19.5% of these as conflict related, and 16.9% being related to witnessing death or serious injury.
Evidence has found that the traumatic experiences and exposure to violence related to the conflict in Northern Ireland leads to adverse mental health not only for the person themselves, but also for their children and grandchildren. The result is a trans-generational cycle which impacts upon the wellbeing of subsequent generations.
Bamford Centre Report
An estimated 61% of the Northern Ireland adult population have experienced a traumatic event at some point in their lifetime.
An estimated 39% of the study population have experienced a conflict-related traumatic event.
The prevalence of PTSD in Northern Ireland is the highest of all countries that have produced comparable estimates including the USA, other Western European countries and countries that have experienced civil conflict in their recent history. Overall, an estimated 53% of individuals who experienced a conflict-related traumatic event had a mental health disorder at some point in their life, while 32% had a mental health disorder in the 12 months previous to the NISHS interview.
For example an estimated 79% of individuals who experienced conflict and had lifetime major depressive disorder (MDD) sought help compared to just 15% of those with separation anxiety disorder/adult separation anxiety.