While 78% think mental health is as important as physical health, only 34% globally say their country’s healthcare system treats them equally.
Sixty-two per cent say in the past year their daily life has been disrupted due to stress and 39% say they have had to take time off work in the last 12 months because of stress.
Drawing on three years of trend data, the Ipsos World Mental Health Day survey explores changes in how people feel about their own mental health, the factors that are impacting their mental wellbeing, and sets this against the backdrop of the broader healthcare environment.
- Across 31 countries, 78% think their mental health is as important as their physical health.
- But just 34% globally say mental and physical health are treated equally by their country’s healthcare systems.
- People are more likely to say they often think about their physical health (71%), compared to 58% who say they often think about their mental wellbeing.
- People in LATAM are particularly likely to think about their mental health. Five of the top six countries come from the region.
- A third (34%) say stress has impacted their life multiple times in the last year and 27% say they have felt depressed on a number of occasions, where they couldn’t cope because of stress.
Mental health vs. physical health
Highlighting the importance of mental health as an issue, it is now seen as the number one health concern in our recent Ipsos Global Health Service Monitor above illnesses like cancer.
Our World Mental Health Day report finds that 58% say they think about their mental wellbeing often. South Africans and Brazilians (both 75%) are the most likely to express this. While South Korea is the only place where people are more likely to say they don’t think about their mental wellbeing much – 61% saying they do so ‘not very much/never’.
78% globally say their mental health is equally as important as their physical health but only a third (34%) say their country’s healthcare system treat them equally. This sentiment is highest in LATAM with Argentina (88%), Colombia (87%) and Peru (also 87%) the three countries most likely to say this is the case.
However, many people think this is not reflected in their country’s healthcare system. LATAM is the region with the lowest proportion of people who think they are treated equally, with Mexico (38%), Argentina (37%) and Colombia (35%) saying physical health is treated as more important.
Countries in Asia are among the most likely to say that mental health is treated equally by their healthcare system. In five countries (Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India, and Singapore) a majority say mental wellbeing is treated with an equal level of priority as physical health, while Japan and South Korea also record high levels (49% and 45%, respectively).
The impact of stress
Stress has been a growing issue in recent years, and it is seen as the third biggest health concern in our Ipsos Global Health Service Monitor. In our World Mental Health Day report, we explore the impact that stress is having on people’s lives.
Across 31 countries, over three-fifths (62%) say that they have felt stressed to the point where it had an impact on how they lived their daily lives at least once in the past year, with just over a third (34%) saying it has happened several times. Around the same (31%) number of people also say that, on several occasions in the last 12 months, they felt so stressed that they could not cope or deal with things. Thirty-nine per cent say they had to take time off work due to stress in the last year, with 18% saying they had to do this on multiple occasions.
Women are more likely to say stress is having an impact on their life. Over a third of women (36%) say in the past year there have been several times when stress has impacted their daily life, or they have felt they couldn’t cope, versus 26% of men. Women are also more likely to say they have felt depressed to the point they felt sad or hopeless almost every day for a couple of weeks or more (30% vs 24% of men). However, feeling stressed to the point of not going to work is a bit more equal among women (20%) and men (17%).
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.