There are still more than 7 million people in the world living with mental illness.
This includes those who suffer from depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders.
However, many don’t seek help and the stigma surrounding mental health has only become more prevalent in recent years.
Now, a new study from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) reveals that, in 2017, mental health workers were less likely to refer people to mental health services for help than ever before.
In the study, published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, IISS researchers compared mental health professionals’ responses to mental illness cases from different countries to help them understand the challenges faced by mental health practitioners in their countries.
The researchers found that mental health experts were more likely to provide mental health support to people with depression and anxiety than in other countries.
For example, people in South Korea were twice as likely as those in other regions to be referred for mental health assistance.
But while mental health professional referrals were higher in the UK and the US, they were lower in countries like the Netherlands, Finland, and Estonia.
For example, the US referred nearly 20% of the people with a mental health diagnosis in 2017 to mental healthcare, while in the Netherlands it referred only 6%.
“We were very surprised to see that in the US and the UK, the mental health workforce was less likely than the general population to refer a person with a serious mental health condition to mental hospitals,” says lead author Dr. Joost de Wit, an IISS Fellow in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Amsterdam.
“In the US it was around 11%, but in the other countries it was lower.
This is because mental health providers in the United States are often the first ones to call when a patient needs care.”
In the Netherlands the figure was 8%.
The same was true in Finland, the highest number in the study.
And in Estonia, the figure is less than 1%.
In Finland, people with serious mental illness were referred to mental institutions about 3.5 times more often than in the general Dutch population, while the US figure was about 1%.
“It is clear that mental healthcare professionals in many countries are under-represented and the problem of under-representation in the mental healthcare sector is widespread,” Dr. de Wit adds.
“This needs to change, so that we can get the support we need for people with mental health conditions.”
The researchers conducted a study on mental health in five different countries.
In the Netherlands and Finland, they focused on mental healthcare services in public and private health care facilities, while for the UK they looked at mental health care in primary care settings and for Estonia, they looked in community mental health facilities.
As a result, the researchers found the US was the only country in which the proportion of people referred to a mental healthcare professional for help was lower than the national average.
In fact, it was the lowest among all countries, even among the highest-income countries.
The researchers also found that people in other high-income nations, like the UK or the US were more than twice as often referred to treatment for mental illness compared to the general public.
The UK referred more than 11% of people with an acute mental health disorder to mental care facilities compared to just over 3% of patients in other parts of the world.
“For the first time, we were able to see the difference in the level of referrals to mental medical services compared to mental hospital services,” Dr de Wit says.
“We found that in many of these countries, the referral rate to mental facilities was significantly lower than to mental mental health institutions.
And when we looked at the rates of people receiving support for their mental health, we found that those with serious psychiatric illnesses were more often referred for treatment than the rest of the population.”
What can mental health help us do?
There are a number of ways people can support themselves and their mental illnesses.
A recent study from IIS was published in Psychiatric Care, a journal published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
The authors focused on what they called “supportive behaviors” in the context of mental health and found that one way people can help themselves is to take steps to improve their mental wellbeing.
People who have experienced trauma or emotional distress, for example, can help others by being more present and accepting, by spending more time in their environments, and by engaging in “supporting behaviors.”
These activities include social interaction, mindfulness meditation, mindfulness yoga, and other forms of mindful or mindful self-care.
People who experience trauma may also be able to take action by seeking professional help or support.
People with schizophrenia, a mental illness that causes a person to experience delusions, hallucinations and delusions of persecution, can use a form of mindfulness meditation called mindful meditation.
This form of therapy focuses