As the world prepared itself for the unhappiest day of the year (‘Blue Monday’ on January 19th 2015) the Priory Group were uncovering some shocking new statistics which reveal just how prevalent mental health problems are.
The statistics show that in the UK alone, the word ‘depression’ is searched online 27 times a minute. This means someone is Googling the term every two seconds.
‘Stress’ and ‘anxiety’ are also highly searched, with the former being typed into the search engine 22 times a minute and the latter 21 times.
On average, a staggering 1,171,770 searches are made in the UK every month around ‘depression’, 939,820 around ‘stress’ and 907,620 around ‘anxiety’.
Furthermore, in 2014 49,500 searches were made by people wanting to take a test to determine whether or not they were showing signs of depression.
These findings have come to light following recent figures from the Office of National Statistics which show that sickness absence due to depression, stress and anxiety equates to more than 15 million working days per year.
According to Dr Jeanette Downie – the deputy medical director and consultant psychiatrist at Priory Hospital in Glasgow – these figures are a stark reminder of the stigma around mental health, which is leading people to turn to the Internet for help rather than seek professional help.
“I see some highly successful people who are terrified of others finding out that they are depressed or stressed, and feel they have absolutely ‘failed’ by being ill,” she said.
“They often wait until they are really unwell before they come to the Priory for help.”
Dr Downie added that the fear of publicly acknowledging a mental health problem extends to the workplace and social friendship groups, despite the fact “people simply wouldn’t feel the same concern when telling friends or colleagues about a physical illness, like a heart condition.”