Mental health is now the number one health problem, ahead of cancer and coronavirus

48% across 31 countries say the quality of the healthcare in their country is good – but the picture is inconsistent.

Ipsos | Global Healthcare Monitor
The author(s)
  • Simon Atkinson Head of the Ipsos Knowledge Centre
  • Joseph Nadler Ipsos Knowledge Centre, UK
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Mental health is the top health concern for people across 31 countries, moving ahead of previous years’ top concerns like cancer and coronavirus.

Drawing on five years of trend data, the Ipsos Global Health Service Monitor explores changes in the biggest health concerns, how people perceive the quality of their country’s healthcare systems and the biggest challenges facing healthcare providers around the world.

Key findings

Ipsos | Global Healthcare Service Monitor 2023

Top health problems around the world

Across 31 countries, people put mental health as the top health concern facing their country. Since the beginning of this survey in 2018, mental health worries have increased by 17 percentage points (pp), with over two-fifths (44%) worried. Additionally, worries about stress (now mentioned by 30% as an issue) are on the rise. It is now third in our list behind cancer (40%).

In Sweden and Chile, two-thirds feel that mental health is one of the biggest health problems facing their country. Canada, Spain and Australia make up the top five.

Looking at the other health concerns, India is most worried about cancer (59%), while South Koreans have the highest level of concern about stress (44%). In Mexico six in ten (62%) say obesity is a big problem with Chile second with 49%.

Looking at the differences between men and women, we find overall that men are significantly less concerned over mental health in their country than women (38% vs. 50%). And we see a similar pattern for cancer and stress. Forty-two per cent of women say they worry about cancer, compared to 37% of men; 33% of women highlight stress, while 27% of men say it is an issue.

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Ipsos | Global Healthcare Service Monitor 2023 | Quality of healthcare

How do people around the world rate their healthcare systems?

People are mostly satisfied with the quality of their country’s healthcare system. All but four of the 31 countries surveyed – Poland, Hungary, Peru and Brazil – describe the quality of the healthcare they receive as very good or good.

Singaporeans are the most positive about their healthcare system, with 71% saying it is very good/good. Switzerland is second with 68% happy with the level of service they receive.

However, a majority in 25 countries say their healthcare system is overstretched. This goes as high as four-fifths in both France and Great Britain. Brits have always perceived their system as overworked, however the French have been gradually becoming more pessimistic, rising 12pp since 2018. France is also highest for thinking their country’s healthcare system does not have enough staff.

The only country that doesn’t think their country’s healthcare system is overstretched is Poland, where 41% don’t see it as a problem (vs. 27% who do).

A third of people globally think their country’s healthcare system does not provide the same standard of care to everyone. This sentiment is strongest in 12 countries – Hungary, Poland, Chile, Colombia, the US, Germany, Peru, Ireland, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Turkey – where people are more likely than not to say this is the case.

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About this study

These are the results of a 31-country survey conducted by Ipsos on its Global Advisor online platform and, in India, on its IndiaBus platform, between Friday, July 21 and Friday, August 4, 2023. For this survey, Ipsos interviewed a total of 23,274 adults aged 18 years and older in India, 18-74 in Canada, Republic of Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, Turkey, and the United States, 20-74 in Thailand, 21-74 in Indonesia and Singapore, and 16-74 in all other countries.

The author(s)
  • Simon Atkinson Head of the Ipsos Knowledge Centre
  • Joseph Nadler Ipsos Knowledge Centre, UK