In Brief

Britons among most depressed people in Western world

OECD data finds direct correlation between education levels and depression

Britons are among the most depressed people in the western world, according to the latest rankings from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The OECD, which analysed data from European health interview survey results and other national survey’s from across the world, put the UK joint-seventh out of 25 countries from Europe and Scandinavia for adults reporting they have depression.

The OECD estimates that around 10% of British people aged between 25 and 64 are suffering from depression. While this is less than Ireland (12%), Germany (12%) and Iceland, which came top with 14%, it is also above the average and twice as high as countries such as Italy and Greece (both 4%) which have suffered a serious economic downturn over the past decade.

Breaking down the data, it was found that depression was highest among those who left school after sitting GCSEs but that this more than halved to just 7% for those with a university education.

Andreas Schleicher, director of education and skills at the OECD, told the Daily Mail that there are “good reasons to believe that education has a direct effect” on reported depression levels.

“With higher levels of education you just have so many more ways to participate in society” he said, while conversely “the risk of social exclusion is just much higher for people who don’t have the kind of skills”

The data also reveals that women are more likely to report depression than men, even though depression levels are on average higher among men.

In 2015, an international comparison of children’s happiness across 15 countries found British children were amongst the unhappiest in the world, with widespread bullying causing huge damage to their wellbeing.

According to the Mail, the rise in depression saw the NHS issue 64.7 million prescriptions for depression last year, double the amount given out a decade ago.

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