One in eight Irish people have experienced chronic depression recently, according to a new health study by Eurostat, the EU central statistics office. Ireland now has the highest rate (12%) of chronic depression in Europe.
Portugal (11.9%), Turkey (11%) and Germany (10.6%) also reported high levels of the mental illness, while Bulgaria (3.2%), Cyprus (3.6%) and the Czech Republic (3.9%) recorded the lowest rates.
The health survey was conducted between 2013 and 2015 across all EU member states. The Irish figures are based on a study by the Central Statistics Office, which surveyed 10,323 people aged over 15 in 2015.
The Eurostat report also looked at the discrepancy between male and female rates of depression. Across all EU countries, the proportion of women with depressive disorders was higher than the proportion of men – in Ireland, 13.4% of women reported having chronic depression, compared to 10.8% of men. Portugal had the largest gender gap in depressive disorders; with 11.9% of women reporting depression, compared to just 5.9% of men.
The report was published to mark World Mental Health Day last week. The week before, Ireland's Central Statistic Office reported that there were almost 400 deaths by suicide in 2017. Men account for eight out of ten suicides in Ireland. The highest rates of suicide were observed among 45-54 year-olds (men) and 55-64-year-olds (women).
If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, Aware provides information and emotional support to those affected. Visit their website or call them between 10 am and 10 pm, seven days a week at 1800 80 48 48