Global: Where are people most likely to report being diagnosed with a mental health issue?
April 24th, 2022, Christien Pheby

Global: Where are people most likely to report being diagnosed with a mental health issue?

Data from YouGov Global Profiles shows that two-fifths of consumers across all countries agree that stigmas around mental health issues are declining (42%), compared to just a fifth who disagree (19%). There is also a broad consensus that it’s “important for people to talk about mental health” (72%).

But where are people most – and least – likely to report having received a diagnosis of a mental illness? We’ve compared 16 international markets to arrive at a (partial) answer.

Firstly, it’s important to note here that we have only asked people whether they’ve received a diagnosis of a mental illness from a range of options. The findings below therefore don’t account for either people who might have an undiagnosed ailment – those who might not recognise the symptoms of (for example) depression or anxiety, or those who are reluctant to visit a professional and have those symptoms confirmed – or those who, for whatever reason, would prefer not to admit whether they have one of these ailments even to an anonymous interlocutor.

Nevertheless, the data may be useful in highlighting those countries where receiving a diagnosis is perhaps easier or less stigmatised, and those where it is decidedly not.

With that in mind, our data shows that consumers in North America – with the notable exception of Mexico – are overwhelmingly the most likely to say they have been diagnosed with a mental illness: three in ten US residents (30%) and nearly as many Canadians (27%) say they’ve been diagnosed with a mental health illness. Australians are far behind (15%), with Britons slight less likely to say so (12%). In general, the American and European public are more likely to report a diagnosis than consumers in other markets (though France is a notable exception at 2%).

If we look at the US (where 30% report being diagnosed with a mental health illness) next to Mexico (where just 2% are diagnosed), we can see that the former are far more likely to say “it’s important to talk about mental health” than the latter (US 85%; Mexico 72%). There’s an even wider gap between the US and France (64%), India (71%), and Hong Kong (57%), all at the other end of the scale.

This might suggest that a broader willingness to discuss mental health among a population correlates with higher levels of self-reported diagnosis, which could make a degree of intuitive sense (though it’s also worth mentioning that the US Affordable Care Act mandates that employer health insurance plans cover mental health services).

In any case, being open about mental health problems may be only one piece of a wider puzzle; there may be all manner of barriers to seeking a diagnosis. In Britain, for example, our survey from last year revealed that the public were most likely to consider the availability of public mental health services to be an obstacle to treatment compared to social stigma or low awareness. Depending on the market, talk may well be cheap to some consumers when it comes to mental health.


YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.

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