Half of the global population will develop a mental health disorder by the age of 75, according to a study.
Scientists at The University of Queensland and Harvard Medical School analysed data from more than 150,000 adults across 29 countries between 2001 and 2022 and found that half had developed at least one disorder by the age of 75.
The most common were mood disorders, such as major depression or anxiety, while researchers also found the risk of certain mental disorders differed by sex. Women were found to be more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), while men were more likely to suffer from alcohol abuse.
Lead author Professor McGrath, of Queensland University’s Brain Institute, said: “The peak age of first onset was at 15 years old, with a median age of onset of 19 for men and 20 for women.
“This lends weight to the need to invest in basic neuroscience to understand why these disorders develop.”
Researchers found that mental health disorders typically first emerge in childhood or adolescence, with a median age of onset of 19 for men and 20 for women.
In 2019, the World Health Organisation estimated that nearly a billion people were living with a mental health condition.
Professor Ronald Kessler, of Harvard Medical School, said the results highlighted the need for increased investment in mental health services, particularly for young people.
“Services need to be able to detect and treat common mental disorders promptly, and be optimised to suit patients in these critical parts of their lives,” he said.
“By understanding the age at which these disorders commonly arise, we can tailor public health interventions and allocate resources to ensure that appropriate and timely support is available to individuals at risk.”
He added: “Mental disorders are a major health problem worldwide, with massive unmet need for treatment.
“While many scalable interventions for prevention and treatment have been developed, allocation is often suboptimal. This study provides important insights that can help in targeting efforts to optimise the benefit of these interventions.”
The study was published in The Lancet on Wednesday.Mental Health News