Mental ill health worse among low earners, study shows

Group calls for more action to prevent issues like depression and panic attacks in a study to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.

Nearly three quarters of people in the lowest income bracket have struggled with their mental health, a major new study shows.

Seventy-three per cent of those whose household income is less than £1,200 per month have experienced problems, and the figure rises to 85 per cent of people who are out of work.

This compares to 59 per cent of people from the top household income bracket of more than £3,701 per month.

The figures come from the Mental Health Foundation to mark Mental Health Awareness Week and show that more than half the population (65 per cent) have experienced a mental health problem, such as depression or a panic attack.

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Now the Foundation is calling for a Royal Commission to seek ways of preventing mental ill health, focusing on reducing the risk.

It also wants to see mental health included in NHS screening programmes and more money channeled to research into prevention. An annual report on the state of the nation’s mental health also forms part of its proposals.

“Our report lays out the sheer scale of the problem. This isn’t an issue that just affects a minority,” said Jenny Edwards, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation.

“We know that only a minority of people experiencing mental ill health access professional support, which means that we need to redouble our efforts to prevent mental health problems from developing in the first place.

“This Mental Health Awareness Week we want to give people some of the tools to move from surviving to thriving. The barometer of any nation is the health and happiness of its people. We have made great strides in the health of our bodies, we now need to achieve the same for the health of our minds.”