Global depression diagnoses
July 14th, 2023, Clifton Mark

Global depression diagnoses

The World Health Organization has recently warned of a 25% increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide, triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. While this finding is still debated, a recent global survey by YouGov has asked people around the globe which mental illnesses they’ve been professionally diagnosed with.

The majority of respondents (65.4%) have never been diagnosed with any mental illness. However, this varies significantly between markets. APAC markets appear to have the fewest diagnoses. In Singapore, 82.6% of respondents have never been diagnosed, with that figure being 75.5% in Hong Kong and 74.0% in China. India and Indonesia differ, with 61.0% of Indians and 59.3% of Indonesians saying they’ve never been diagnosed, which is below the global average of 65.4%.

In North America, Canada and the US tend to have more mental health diagnoses, with 59.9% of Canadians and 59.4% of Americans saying they’ve never been diagnosed. However, UAE has the most mental health diagnoses by a significant margin, with just half of the country (49.4%) saying they’ve never been diagnosed with a mental illness in their lives.

Of all mental health illnesses listed, depression is the most common, with 12.3% of the global population having been diagnosed with it. There are some significant differences between demographic groups. Globally, depression is more prevalent in women (14.2%) than men (10.5%). All age groups are within 0.3% of the global average of 12.3% except for 45-54-year olds, who exceed the average slightly at 13.5%. Similar rates of lifetime diagnoses among different age groups suggests that depression is more prevalent among younger people

since they’ve had fewer years in which to be diagnosed.

Differences in depression rates between markets dwarf those between demographic groups. English-speaking countries are the most depressed in the world, led by Australia where 23.3% of respondents have been diagnosed with depression. They are followed by the US (20.5%), Great Britain (20.3%) and Canada (17.3%).

In Europe, Sweden (17.1%) and Germany (15.7%) also have significantly above-average rates of depression diagnoses. Denmark is slightly above average at 13.3% whereas Italy is near the bottom of the list with only 5% of Italians ever being diagnosed with depression.

APAC markets tend to have low rates of depression. Hong Kong (2.9%) and Singapore (4.0%) have the lowest rates of diagnosis with China (5.7%) and India (7.9%) well below the global average. Even Indonesia which has an above-average diagnoses for all mental illnesses has only a 6.5% rate of diagnosis for depression.

The UAE is close to the average at 10.7%.

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