Mental health issues are a key challenge facing European health systems, according to a study published by the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology. It examined a population of 514 million people, finding 164.8 million (38.2%) suffer from a mental disorder of some kind.
The most common conditions are anxiety, insomnia, major depression and alcohol and drug addiction (if this affects you or someone close to you check out information on treatment programs). Attention deficit disorders and dementia, common among the elderly, round out the list.
Mental illness accounts for 26% of the disease burden in European countries, yet treatment and diagnosis methods remain fragmented. Only a third of patients with a mental disorder ever receive treatment. Even among those delays of several years are common, and they rarely receive top quality treatment.
Principal investigator and lead author Hans-Ulrich Wittchen said:
The immense treatment gap documented for mental disorders has to be closed […] We have to acknowledge that only early targeted treatment in the young will effectively prevent the risk of increasingly larger proportions of severely ill multimorbid patients in the future.
Dramatically increased funding of research on the causes and the treatment of disorders of the brain to reach this goal is needed. In addition, a better allocation of treatment resources and improved provision of care are priority topics for the more immediate future.