Date: 22/11/2012

According to government statistics released today, almost 1 in 5 people are experiencing mental health problems with women more prone than men.

The General Health Questionnaire (GHQ12) is designed to detect the possibility of psychiatric morbidity in the general population.

People are asked to respond to 12 questions about general levels of happiness, depression, anxiety and sleep disturbance.

A score is constructed from their responses, with a score of 4 or more being classified as respondents with a possible psychiatric disorder, and is referred to as a ‘high GHQ12 score’.

Almost 1 in 5 respondents (19%) showed signs of a possible mental health problem, by scoring highly on the GHQ12.

Females were more likely to show signs of a possible mental health problem (20%) than males (17%).

Differences in gender were reported in the 16-24, 35- 44 and 65-74 age groups.

Overall 18% of respondents in the youngest age group (16-24 years) scored highly, 14% of males compared with 20% of females.

21% percent of respondents in the 35-44 age group scored highly, 18% of males compared with 23% of females.

Finally, 16% of respondents in the 65-74 age group scored highly – 13% of males compared with 18% of females.

Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale: The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale asks people to indicate how often they have felt a certain way on a range of items, such as feeling optimistic, feeling relaxed, thinking clearly, feeling confident, and feeling cheerful.

A score is then assigned (minimum score of 14 and maximum score of 70) and the higher a person’s score, the better their level of mental wellbeing. In this survey, the mean score was 50, with the same mean scores for males and females (50).

The scale was not designed with a view to categorising the population according to level of mental wellbeing, thus no cut off points have been developed. Rather, it is, a tool for monitoring the mental wellbeing of groups of people over time or differences between groups.

Full details here: http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/health_survey_northern_ireland_-_first_results_from_the_2011-12_survey.pdf