• It is difficult to find an all-inclusive definition for ‘mental illness’. Cultural and societal norms mean that there is no clear consensus as to what it means. In addition, further confusion often surrounds the ways and contexts in which terms like ‘mental health problems’, ‘mental illness’ and ‘mental health’ are used. • According to the charity, The Mental Health Foundation: ‘When someone experiences severe and or enduring mental health problems they are sometimes described as mentally ill’. This is the definition used in this factsheet. However, there are many problems associated with the term. These include: the lack of any universal agreement as to the point at which normal behaviour becomes mental illness; the stigma attached to the label ‘mental illness’; the fact that the existing ways of categorising mental illnesses do not always match people’s experiences; and the fact that some people think the term implies that all mental health problems are the result of underlying biological causes, when most are caused by a combination of factors, and are often triggered by situations in a person’s life. • The term ‘mental health problem’ is used to describe a whole range of difficulties, from everyday stresses and bereavement, phobias and anxiety disorders, to the more acute forms of depression, and illnesses such as schizophrenia. Psychiatrists sub-divide the different kinds of mental health disorders in several different ways: • A World Health Organization (WHO) report from 2001 estimated that one person in four people in the world will suffer from a mental health problem at some point in their life. This ‘1 in 4’ paradigm has become the basis of much publicity and discussion about mental health. According to a 2003 WHO fact sheet on “Mental Health in the European Region”, mental health problems account for up to a third of all GP consultations in Europe. • There are some differences in respect of men and women’s experience of mental ill-health. 20 per cent of women in England have some form of mental illness, compared with 14 per cent of men. Similarly, 18 per cent of women have a ‘neurotic disorder’ (including anxiety, depression, phobias and panic attacks), compared with 11 per cent of men. However, men are three times more likely than women to be dependent on alcohol, and twice as likely to be dependent on drugs. It is common for both alcohol and drugs to be used to hide the symptoms of mental illness. • One of the most common mental health problems is depression. One in 6 people in the UK will suffer from depression at some point in their life, and it is most prevalent among people aged 25-44. According to the 2003 WHO fact sheet on mental health in Europe, 33.4 million people in the region suffer from depression in any given year, and more than 30 million people in the world have now been prescribed the anti-depressant Prozac. • Even very young children can suffer from mental health problems. The WHO fact estimates that 8 per cent of all girls and 2 per cent of all boys in the area show symptoms of severe depression. In the UK, among the 5-10 age group, 10 per cent of boys and six per cent of girls are affected, and among the 11-15 age group, 13 per cent of boys and 10 per cent of girls. However, as with adults, there is some variation between boys in girls in terms of the types of disorder they have. • The Mental Health Foundation estimates that 15 per cent of pre-school children have mild mental health problems, and 7 per cent more severe mental health problems. • 15 per cent of people over 65 suffer from depression. Another common mental health problem among older people is dementia, which affects up to 670,000 people in the UK. This includes five per cent of people over 65, and between 10 and 20 per cent of people over 80. • Social class affects the prevalence of mental health problems. Children from the lowest social classes are more likely to have a mental disorder than those in the top social brackets. The highest rates of mental disorders among children occur among those from families where no parent has ever worked. However, ESRC research suggests that gaining educational qualifications and good adjustment in childhood both help to protect individuals from psychological problems in adulthood, even those from less privileged social backgrounds. • Poverty also has a major influence on mental health. People from the poorest areas are nearly three times as likely to be admitted to hospital for depression as those who are not, and are three times more likely to commit suicide. Poorer people are also six times more likely to be admitted to hospital with schizophrenia, and ten times more likely to be admitted for alcohol-related problems. • Between 10-20 per cent of young people involved in criminal activity are thought to have a 'psychiatric disorder'. Many of the risk factors for youth crime are the same as those for psychiatric disorders. For example, children and young people brought up in care, or who are homeless are both more likely to offend and more likely to suffer from mental ill-health. In England and Wales 66 per cent of those on remand and 39 per cent of those who are sentenced have mental health problems. Figure 2a - Download as a PowerPoint slide here (492 Kb) Figure 2b - Download as a PowerPoint slide here (492 Kb) (Source: Office for National Statistics; General Register Office for Scotland; Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency) Mental Health in the Workplace
• More than 91 million working days a year are lost to mental health problems. Half of these are due to anxiety and stress. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), as many as half a million workers in Britain could be experiencing levels of stress that are making them ill [27]. 1. http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/page.cfm?pagecode=PMMH 2. Ibid. 3. http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/page.cfm?pagecode=PMMHTY 4. http://www.who.int/whr/2001/en/. Interestingly however, this document gives no definition of ‘mental health’ or ‘mental illness’. 5. http://www.euro.who.int/document/mediacentre/fs0303e.pdf 6. http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/page.cfm?pagecode=PMMHST 7. Ibid. 8. Ibid. 9. http://www.samh.org.uk/whatare3.html 10. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=853 11. http://www.mind.org.uk/NR/exeres/46D79426-BC46-4033-9DB2- C976664A11BB.htm?NRMODE=Published&wbc_purpose=Basic&WBCMODE=PresentationUnpublished 12. http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/page.cfm?pagecode=PMMHST 13. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=853 14. http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/page.cfm?pagecode=PMMHST 15. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=853 16. Relevant information from the ESRC’s Health Variations Programme can be found at: http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fss/apsocsci/hvp/default.htm. In particular, see: http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fss/apsocsci/hvp/projects/stansfeld.htm 17. http://www.samh.org.uk/whatare3.html 18. http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/page.cfm?pagecode=PMMHST 19. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=853 20. http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/page.cfm?pagecode=PMMHST 21. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=853 22. The Centre for Suicide Prevention, University of Manchester. Available online at: http://www.national-confidential-inquiry.ac.uk/nci/find_information/index.cfm?content_id=6417E4E1-DFF5-401F-B9CBC707E66C6674 23. http://www.samh.org.uk/whatare3.html 24. Ibid. 25. http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/page.cfm?pagecode=PMMHST 26. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Expodata/Spreadsheets/D7468.xls 27. http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/stress.htm 28. http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/page.cfm?pagecode=PMWM 29. Ibid. 30. http://www.who.int/whr/2001/en/whr01_djmessage_en.pdf

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J. Cell. Mol. Med. Vol 11, No 5, 2007 pp. 1-4 Journal on Cellular and Christian de Duve was born in 1917 in the South Molecular Medicine is an appropriate stage for a of England, where his family had found refuge fromtribute to Professor C. de Duve on his 90th birthday. the first invasion of Belgium by German troops inIndeed, the work of Christian de Duve led to an1914. He grew up in t

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